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

  • adj. Influencing or applying to a period prior to enactment: a retroactive pay increase.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Extending in scope, effect, application or influence to a prior time or to prior conditions

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Fitted or designed to retroact; operating by returned action; affecting what is past; retrospective.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Retroacting; having a reversed or retrospective action; operative with respect to past circumstances; holding good for preceding cases.

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

  • adj. descriptive of any event or stimulus or process that has an effect on the effects of events or stimuli or process that occurred previously
  • adj. affecting things past


French rétroactif, from Latin retroāctus, past participle of retroagere, to drive back : retrō-, retro- + agere, to drive; see ag- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)


  • Well, I'm not sure this proposal is retrospective I prefer the term retroactive, actually.

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  • BLITZER: That's what they call retroactive immunity, if you like.

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  • The deals are termed "retroactive reinsurance" because such policies cover losses that have already occurred but whose final costs aren't yet known.

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  • October 31, 2007, the VA paid Toth $93,240.00 in retroactive disability payments and Toth also began receiving over $2,500.00 per month in disability payments.

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  • But fear not, Danny Williams, because Jack Layton has promised an accord with Newfoundland worth as much as $10 billion in retroactive equalization payments.

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  • HD's mother is demanding an extremely late-term retroactive abortion.

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  • Realizing her mistake, HD's mother is demanding an extremely late-term retroactive abortion.

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  • Stayed on the phone with someone from Customer Service trouble shooting my computer for over an hour to find that I have to be responsible for fixing the computer at my expense because my warranty expired June of 2005, so I asked does this mean that when you replaced my harddrive before the warranty of the new harddrive became retroactive from the original date I pu

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