Definition of progressive in English:


Line breaks: pro|gres¦sive
Pronunciation: /prəˈgrɛsɪv


  • 1Happening or developing gradually or in stages: a progressive decline in popularity
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    • The testing occurs in two stages, the first stage consisting of a progressive exertion test to measure endurance and a vertical leap test to measure explosive leg power.
    • The typical model of cancer palliative care might not suit people who have a gradual, progressive decline with unpredictable exacerbations.
    • Aging is not a disease but a normal, gradual, and progressive decline that begins in the thirties when biological aging initiates cellular changes throughout the body.
    continuing, continuous, increasing, growing, developing, ongoing, intensifying, accelerating, escalating; gradual, step by step, cumulative
  • 1.1(Of a medical condition) increasing in severity: progressive liver failure
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    • In contrast, tumors and ototoxic medications produce slowly progressive unilateral or bilateral lesions.
    • Furthermore, heart failure is a progressive condition: once symptoms appear, subsequent morbidity and mortality are high.
    • An elderly black woman was readmitted to the hospital from a nursing home because of progressive weakness.
  • 1.2(Of taxation or a tax) increasing as a proportion of the sum taxed as that sum increases: steeply progressive income taxes
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    • Sometimes I think it is useless to debate the economic effects of decisions on minimum wage, inheritance taxes, progressive taxation, etc.
    • This is a case in point to indicate that land-based property taxes are progressive.
    • Everyone agrees that the fairest form of taxation is a progressive income tax: the more one earns, the more one pays.
  • 2(Of a person or idea) favouring social reform: a relatively progressive Minister of Education
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    • People have high expectations about Labor, the party of reform and progressive ideas.
    • Although a right-wing neo-conservative, he's quite progressive on social policy and this gives him a certain desirability.
    • The progressive beliefs and social justice we stand for, our core, must not be altered.
  • 2.1Favouring change or innovation: the most progressive art school in Britain
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    • His forward thinking, innovative and progressive methods of teaching, combined with his attention to detail of the core values of education, made him a wonderful asset to any school.
    • Kitesurfing is the world's fastest growing watersport with new innovations and progressive manoeuvres being discovered regularly.
    • It was a stable, hardworking and mutually profitable relationship in a changing, innovative and progressive period in the upgrading of the standard and facility of education in our schools.
    modern, liberal, advanced, forward-looking, forward-thinking, go-ahead, enlightened, enterprising, innovative, up-and-coming, new, dynamic, avant-garde, modernistic, disruptive; radical, left-wing, reforming, reformist, revolutionary, revisionist, progressivist
  • 2.2Relating to or denoting a style of rock music popular especially in the 1970s and characterized by classical influences, the use of keyboard instruments, and lengthy compositions.
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    • This Toronto trio has left their mark on the scene with a unique style of improvised progressive breakbeat house, a sound driven by artistic ingenuity but upheld by talented instrumentation.
    • The band's style ranges from indie rock to progressive, with such influences as Radiohead, The Stone Roses, Led Zeppelin and The Frames.
    • A whole lifestyle is suggested by this, home to tastefully decorated flats and progressive rock music.
  • 3 Grammar Denoting an aspect or tense of a verb that expresses an action in progress, e.g. am writing, was writing. Also called continuous.
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    • One has to say, rather, I am writing a letter, with the progressive aspect.
    • I mean, so what if I use stative verbs in the progressive form, or use Chinese language structure for my English in daily usage?
    • The same can be said of his frequent use of progressive verbs (gerunds).
  • 4(Of a card game or dance) involving a series of sections for which participants successively change place or relative position.
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    • I watched as the rest of the members of my class whirled around the Sport Hall in a progressive dance called the Oslo.
    • At the progressive twenty-five card game in the Parish Hall on Tuesday, six people shared the top prize.
    • It is a progressive 25 card game and it will be held in the Old School Community Centre and will commence at 9pm.
  • 5 archaic Engaging in or constituting forward motion.


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  • 2 Grammar A progressive tense or aspect: the present progressive
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    • If the progressive can only be used with imperfectives, why is it not possible to use the progressive with quintessential examples of stative predicates, such as be tall and know French?
    • It is still possible to mark habitual with a + Verb, just like the progressive.
    • Again, this is clearly present progressive - it is what is happening right there and then he is referring to, not some habitual state of affairs.
  • 3 (also progressive proof) (usually progressives) Printing Each of a set of proofs of colour work, showing all the colours separately and the cumulative effect of overprinting them.



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  • The gap between women's and men's average salary gets progressively wider among older graduates.
  • From the synclinal axis towards the centre of the dome, the older succession is progressively exposed.
  • The changes in the bladder lining that lead to cancer occur gradually and progressively.


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  • When I first moved to Montréal, I believed it to be a cosmopolitan city of many cultures, many languages, all playing and chain-smoking together in an oasis of European cool, a beacon of progressiveness, tolerance, and diversity.
  • The advent of identity politics and counter-cultural resistance to art as commodity galvanized critics' identification of progressiveness in art with progressiveness in socio-political content.
  • It is obvious that the administration of this University, which was noted for its progressiveness in the sixties when I attended it, has moved considerably to the right in order to appeal to its corporate donors.


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  • The rich (at least in Manhattan) profess to visit Target because of its social progressivism.
  • For years the Leftist agenda masqueraded as an enlightened form of social progressivism.
  • This ran counter to the political progressivism underlying the Marxist program, which sought to reject all such unchangeable categorization.


noun & adjective
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  • Here is the progressivist, liberal Dickens protesting against what he considers to be the wrong sort of radicalism and the wrong sort of innovation.
  • Some progressivist reformers aim to dissolve the Church's hierarchical structure and transform her into an egalitarian democracy.
  • If we let the progressivists and the libertarians win now and make harm minimisation the main social response to substance abuse, the change into a drug society would be irreversible.


early 17th century: from French progressif, -ive or medieval Latin progressivus, from progress- 'gone forward', from the verb progredi (see progress).

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