from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To go back; move backward.
  • intransitive v. To return to a previous, usually worse or less developed state.
  • intransitive v. To have a tendency to approach or go back to a statistical mean.
  • transitive v. Psychology To induce a state of regression in.
  • n. The act of going or coming back; return.
  • n. Passage back; reentry.
  • n. The act of reasoning backward from an effect to a cause.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The act of passing back; passage back; return; retrogression.
  • n. The power or liberty of passing back.
  • v. To move backwards to an earlier stage; to devolve.
  • v. To perform a regression on an explanatory variable.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The act of passing back; passage back; return; retrogression. “The progress or regress of man”.
  • n. The power or liberty of passing back.
  • intransitive v. To go back; to return to a former place or state.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To go back; return to a former place or state.
  • In astronomy, to move from east toward west.
  • n. Passage back; return.
  • n. The power or liberty of returning or passing back.
  • n. In Scots law, reëntry.
  • n. In canon law. See access, 7.
  • n. In logic, the passage in thought from effect to cause.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the reasoning involved when you assume the conclusion is true and reason backward to the evidence
  • v. go back to a statistical means
  • v. go back to bad behavior
  • n. returning to a former state
  • v. get worse or fall back to a previous condition
  • v. go back to a previous state


Latin regredī, regress- : re-, re- + gradī, to go; see ghredh- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
(verb) From Latin regressus, past participle of regredi ("to go back"), from re- ("back") + gradi ("to go"). (Wiktionary)


  • The problem with an infinite regress is that it is a fallacious attempt to make an unsound argument support itself.

    A Fine-Tuned Multiverse

  • An infinite regress is no longer an easy, simple, or adequate explanation.

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  • Infinite regress is just another metaphysical conclusion, no different that gods/God.

    Creationism, defined

  • To monumentalize this observation into a method of reading would be to regress from the rigor exhibited by Shelley which is exemplary because it refuses to be generalized into a system.

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  • May the lake once again regress to its most pleasant state and leave us the hell alone.

    Lake Lamentation

  • Sir John walked there some time, expecting the reappearance of the knight, whom he intended to assist in leading home; but after an hour, finding no signs of regress from the palace, and thinking his father might be wondering at his delay, he turned his steps towards his own lodgings.

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  • I haven't seen Heidegger's history of philosophy described as a regress before, but I can see the narrative, that man was in the Garden of Beyng, then Plato drank from the tree of metaphysical kool-aid and we've been dealing with that original sin since.


  • But she said that she started to regress, which is often -- also a hallmark of many people with autism.

    CNN Transcript Feb 22, 2007

  • The main argument for foundationalism is called the regress argument.


  • Different as these views were, they represent the idea of regress; they imply a condemnation of the tendencies of actual social development and recommend a return to simpler and more primitive conditions.

    The Idea of Progress An inguiry into its origin and growth


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