Definition of regress in English:

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Pronunciation: /rəˈɡres/
1 [no object] Return to a former or less developed state: art has been regressing toward adolescence for more than a generation now
More example sentences
  • Still, imagine for a moment that the market is disposed to regress toward its same old 9% mean for the 10 years from 1997 to 2007.
  • It is as if we are regressing instead of moving forward.
  • We are regressing in our democratic governance.
revert, retrogress, relapse, lapse, backslide, slip back;
deteriorate, decline, worsen, degenerate, get worse
informal go downhill
1.1Return mentally to a former stage of life or a supposed previous life, especially through hypnosis or mental illness: [no object]: she claims to be able to regress to the Roman era [with object]: I regressed Sylvia to early childhood
More example sentences
  • Sometimes its challenges may appear so overwhelming that individuals break down, give up, or regress to a previous stage of development, returning to the mother in her archetypal aspect of nurturer and container.
  • People under stress often regress to earlier stages of development.
  • In supportive therapy, the therapist works to help the patient not regress around this phase.
2 [with object] Statistics Calculate the coefficient or coefficients of regression of (a variable) against or on another variable.
Example sentences
  • This type of analysis obtains estimates of main path coefficients by regressing each endogenous variable on those variables that directly impinge upon it.
  • For this research question, we regressed variables reflecting each youth's level of involvement on each latent dimension on covariate terms.
  • First, the suspected mediator variable is regressed onto the predictor variable.
3 [no object] Astronomy Move in a retrograde direction.


Pronunciation: /ˈrēˌɡres/
1The action of returning to a former or less developed state.
Example sentences
  • I am really angry and upset about the ‘progress’, or should I say regress, going on there.
  • This regress is signalled not only by increases in mental confusion but by typography less and less coherent, the type straying over the page, and with some pages simply blank.
  • Take Ronnie as an example of the progress or regress of the last however-long in music.
2 Philosophy A series of statements in which a logical procedure is continually reapplied to its own result without approaching a useful conclusion (e.g., defining something in terms of itself).
Example sentences
  • But since the Theory requires that for any group of entities with a common property, there is a Form to explain the commonality, it appears that the theory does indeed give rise to the vicious regress.
  • One criticism of this is that it does not explain how the act of will itself occurs, and suggests an infinite causal regress; another is that it misrepresents and exaggerates our awareness of the movements involved in our behaviour.
  • Demea's argument is that nothing can exist without a cause, that the idea of an infinite regress of causes is absurd, and that the regress can be brought to an end only by there being an ultimate cause who necessarily exists.


Late Middle English (as a noun): from Latin regressus, from regredi 'go back, return', from re- 'back' + gradi 'walk'.

  • progress from Late Middle English:

    Latin progressus ‘an advance’, was formed from pro- ‘forward’ and gradi ‘to walk, proceed’. Gradi is also found in regress (Late Middle English) ‘walk backwards’, aggression (early 17th century) originally ‘an attack’ by way of ‘proceeding towards’, and ingredients (Late Middle English) ‘things that enter into something’.

Words that rhyme with regress

acquiesce, address, assess, Bess, bless, bouillabaisse, caress, cess, chess, coalesce, compress, confess, convalesce, cress, deliquesce, digress, dress, duchesse, duress, effervesce, effloresce, evanesce, excess, express, fess, finesse, fluoresce, guess, Hesse, impress, incandesce, intumesce, jess, largesse, less, manageress, mess, ness, noblesse, obsess, oppress, outguess, phosphoresce, politesse, possess, press, priestess, princess, process, profess, progress, prophetess, retrogress, stress, success, suppress, tendresse, top-dress, transgress, tress, tristesse, underdress, vicomtesse, yes

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·gress

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