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[re-truh-gres, re-truh-gres] /ˌrɛ trəˈgrɛs, ˈrɛ trəˌgrɛs/
verb (used without object)
to go backward into an earlier and usually worse condition:
to retrogress to infantilism.
to move backward.
Origin of retrogress
1810-20; < Latin retrōgressus past participle of retrōgradī to go back or backward, equivalent to retrō- retro- + gred-, combining form of gradī to step, go (see grade) + -tus past participle suffix, with dt > ss
1. decline, degenerate, retrograde, withdraw, retreat, revert. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for retrogress
  • Fluctuations can cause cut-off date movement to slow, stop, or even retrogress.
  • Disturbance of this plant community for any reason causes it to retrogress to an earlier stage of development.
  • Such fluctuations can cause cut-off date movement to slow, stop, or even retrogress.
British Dictionary definitions for retrogress


verb (intransitive)
to go back to an earlier, esp worse, condition; degenerate or deteriorate
to move backwards; recede
(biology) to develop characteristics or features of lower or simpler organisms; degenerate
Derived Forms
retrogression, noun
retrogressive, adjective
retrogressively, adverb
Word Origin
C19: from Latin retrōgressus having moved backwards, from retrōgradī; see retrograde
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for retrogress

"move backward; deteriorate," 1816, probably a back-formation from retrogression. Related: Retrogressed; retrogressing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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