Definition of progressive in English:

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Pronunciation: /prəˈɡrɛsɪv/


1Happening or developing gradually or in stages: a progressive decline in popularity
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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
More example sentences
  • 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: classic progressive albums progressive bands like Black Sabbath and the Edgar Broughton Band
More example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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.
Example sentences
  • 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.


1An advocate of social reform: people tend to present themselves either as progressives or traditionalists on this issue
More example sentences
  • The task of creating a democracy based on citizenship, diversity and solidarity is a far more difficult task, but one which social liberals and left-wing progressives in political and civil society need to take on.
  • These men were the progressives and social reformers of their day.
  • Yet there are still debates between traditionalists and progressives as to reforming the electoral process even further.
innovator, reformer, reformist, liberal, libertarian, progressivist, progressionist, leftist, left-winger
formal neoteric
2 Grammar A progressive tense or aspect: the present progressive
More example sentences
  • 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.



Pronunciation: /prəˈɡrɛsɪvnəs/
Example sentences
  • 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.


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

Words that rhyme with progressive

aggressive, compressive, concessive, degressive, depressive, digressive, excessive, expressive, impressive, obsessive, oppressive, possessive, recessive, regressive, repressive, retrogressive, successive, transgressive

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pro|gres¦sive

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