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retrospective Line breaks: retro|spect|ive
Pronunciation: /rɛtrə(ʊ)ˈspɛktɪv/

Definition of retrospective in English:


1Looking back on or dealing with past events or situations: our survey was retrospective
More example sentences
  • Fifteen minutes of retrospective interviews with director and writer Polanski, producer Robert Evans and production designer Richard Sylbert offer a lot of history and insight about the film.
  • Does our necessarily retrospective position deform our understanding of the writing process?
  • Thompson retains the lines but abandons their judicial context, thus depriving the play of its retrospective irony.
1.1(Of an exhibition or compilation) showing the development of an artist’s work over a period of time: a retrospective collection of albums spanning the course of his entire career
More example sentences
  • In 1999 the National Museum of American Art had a retrospective exhibition of the artist's works.
  • These works, part of a bequest from Jochen Schneider, patron and friend of the artist in Kampala, were the specific stimulus for the retrospective exhibition and its catalogue reviewed by Kasfir.
  • The retrospective exhibition will include the artist's earliest work as well as his last projects - photographs that span the last half of the twentieth century.
1.2(Of a statute or legal decision) taking effect from a date in the past: retrospective pay awards
More example sentences
  • The decision in Stafford has retrospective effect.
  • There might be some retrospective legislation and one day they'll come around and take your computers away and name you in the paper.
  • The decision was not retrospective, and existing holders of the Griffith College degree were told they would have to complete the two-year King's Inns diploma course before being allowed to take the exam.


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An exhibition or compilation showing the development of an artist’s work over a period of time: a Georgia O’Keeffe retrospective
More example sentences
  • Nowadays, Renaissance artists are rarely given substantial retrospectives; many works of the time were painted on wood and are too delicate to travel.
  • She is also preparing a touring retrospective of Paul Kos, to open in April 2003.
  • I sat as politely as possible through an extended retrospective of her paintings.



Pronunciation: /rɛtrə(ʊ)ˈspɛktɪvli/
Example sentences
  • The tone of the film, however (one of gentle puzzlement), is set by the narration, given retrospectively by the neighbourhood boys, now grown up, who have spent their lives trying to understand the sisters' actions.
  • Vivid testimony of the disruption caused by the construction of these early Norman urban castles is provided in Domesday Book, which in several places retrospectively recorded the impact of castle-building on taxable assets.
  • The argument is that once an employee starts a claiming process, it is to his or her legal advantage to attribute improper motives to the employer, so blame is retrospectively generated to justify the claim.

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