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    retainer (n.1) — reuse (v.)

    retainer (n.1)

    [fee to secure services] mid-15c., "act of keeping for oneself, an authorized retention (of dues, etc.)," an agent noun from retain (v.), or perhaps from or influenced by French retenir, infinitive used as a noun. Meaning "a retaining fee, fee paid to an attorney or barrister to secure his services" is from 1818. The general sense of "sum paid to secure special services" is from 1859.ETD retainer (n.1).2

    retainer (n.2)

    [one kept in service] 1530s, "dependent or follower of a person of rank or position," agent noun from retain (v.). Also used in the general sense of "one who or that which retains or holds" (1540s). Meaning "dental structure used to hold a bridge in place" is recorded from 1887.ETD retainer (n.2).2

    retain (v.)

    late 14c., "continue keeping of, keep possession of, keep attached to one's person;" early 15c., "hold back, restrain" (a sense now obsolete); from Old French retenir "keep, retain; take into feudal service; hold back; remember" (12c.), from Latin retinere "hold back, keep back, detain, restrain," from re- "back" (see re-) + tenere "to hold" (from PIE root *ten- "to stretch").ETD retain (v.).2

    The meaning "to engage to keep (another) attached to one's person, keep in service" is from mid-15c.; specifically of lawyers from 1540s. Meaning "keep in the mind, preserve knowledge or an idea of" is from c. 1500. Related: Retained; retaining.ETD retain (v.).3

    retake (v.)

    mid-15c., "to take back," from re- "back, again" + take (v.). Meaning "to recapture" is recorded from 1640s; sense of "to record a second time" is attested from 1962. Related: Retook; retaking; retaken. As a noun, "action of filming a (motion picture) scene again," it is from 1918; figurative use from 1937.ETD retake (v.).2

    retaliation (n.)

    "return of like for like, action of retaliating," 1580s, noun of action from Late Latin retaliare "pay back in kind," from re- "back" (see re-) + Latin talio "exaction of payment in kind," believed to be a derivative (on the notion of "compensation with the same") of talis "suchlike" from PIE *teh-li- "such" (source also of Welsh talu "to pay," Greek tēlikos "of such an age," Lithuanian tōlei, Old Church Slavonic toli "to such a degree"); see -th (1).ETD retaliation (n.).2

    Originally used repayments of good or evil, now usually of injuries, insult, etc. Meaning "an instance of retaliating" is from 1640s.ETD retaliation (n.).3

    retaliate (v.)

    "requite, repay, or return in kind," 1610s, from Latin retaliatus, past participle of retaliare "pay back in kind," from re- "back" (see re-) + Latin talio "exaction of payment in kind," from or influenced by talis "suchlike" (see that). Originally of kindness, civility, etc., but by 1630s of injury, ill-treatment, etc. (now the usual sense). Intransitive sense is from 1650s. Related: Retaliated; retaliating.ETD retaliate (v.).2

    retaliatory (adj.)

    "pertaining to or of the nature of retaliation," 1783; see retaliate + -ory. Alternative retaliative is attested from 1819 but seems more to mean "vindictive, revengeful."ETD retaliatory (adj.).2

    retardation (n.)

    early 15c., retardacion, "fact or action of delaying or making slower in movement or time," from Latin retardationem (nominative retardatio) "a delaying," noun of action from past participle stem of retardare "to make slow, delay, keep back, hinder," from re- "back" (see re-) + tardare "to slow," related to tardus "slow, sluggish" (see tardy).ETD retardation (n.).2

    The psychological sense of "educational slowness, educational progress slower than average for a group" is from 1907, perhaps a back-formation from retarded. For the meaning "act of retarding," retardment also was used (1640s).ETD retardation (n.).3

    retarded (adj.)

    1550s, "delayed," past-participle adjective from retard (v.).ETD retarded (adj.).2

    In childhood development psychology, "mentally slow, lagging significantly in mental or educational progress," especially if due to some impairment, attested from 1895 (G.E. Shuttleworth, "late medical superintendent, Royal Albert Asylum, for idiots and imbeciles of the northern counties, Lancaster," perhaps inspired by Italian tardivi).ETD retarded (adj.).3

    Its application has shifted over the years based on what the progress or lack of it was measured against (peers, a score on IQ tests, etc.), but the progress gap was deemed "significant."ETD retarded (adj.).4

    retardant (adj.)

    "tending to hinder," 1640s, from retard (v.) + -ant or from Latin retardantem (nominative retardans), present participle of retardare. From 1867 as a noun, "retardant substance, substance that inhibits some phenomenon or process."ETD retardant (adj.).2

    retardance (n.)

    1550s, "slowness, a making slower, retardation," from French retardance, from retarder (see retard (v.)). It seems to persist in reference to resistance to fire, in which sense it dates from 1921. Related: Retardancy.ETD retardance (n.).2

    retarder (n.)

    1640s, "one who or that which checks or delays," agent noun from retard (v.). Scientific sense of "substance which slows down a reaction" by 1878. Specifically of braking mechanisms by 1937, originally on railroad cars.ETD retarder (n.).2

    retard (v.)

    late 15c., retarden, "make slow or slower; keep back, hinder, delay" (transitive), from French retarder "restrain, hold (someone) back, keep (someone from doing something); come to a stop" (13c.) and directly from Latin retardare "make slow, delay, keep back, hinder" (see retardation). Related: Retarded; retarding. The intransitive sense of "be delayed" is from 1640s.ETD retard (v.).2

    The noun retard is recorded from 1788 in the sense "retardation, delay;" from 1970 in the offensive meaning "retarded person," originally American English, with accent on first syllable. Other words used for "one who is mentally retarded" include retardate (1956, from Latin retardatus), and U.S. newspapers 1950s-60s often used retardee (1950).ETD retard (v.).3

    retch (v.)

    1540s, "to clear the throat, to cough up phlegm" (a sense now obsolete), from Old English hræcan "to cough up, spit" (related to hraca "phlegm"), from Proto-Germanic *khrækijan (source also of Old High German rahhison "to clear one's throat"), of imitative origin (compare Lithuanian kregėti "to grunt"). Meaning "make efforts to vomit" is from 1850; sense of "to vomit" is attested by 1888. Related: Retched; retching.ETD retch (v.).2

    rete (n.)

    late 14c., "open-work metal plate affixed to an astrolabe," from Latin rete "net," a word of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Lithuanian rėtis "sieve," or perhaps a loan-word from a non-IE language. The main modern sense is anatomical, "vascular network, plexus of blood vessels" (1540s). Plural is retia. Related: Retial.ETD rete (n.).2

    reteach (v.)

    also re-teach, "to teach over, teach again or anew, supply with new teachings," 1640s, from re- "back, again, anew" + teach (v.). Related: Retaught; reteaching.ETD reteach (v.).2

    retell (v.)

    "tell again, relate anew," 1590s, from re- "back, again" + tell (v.). Related: Retold; retelling, which is attested from 1640s as a verbal noun.ETD retell (v.).2

    retentive (adj.)

    late 14c., retentif, "able to hold or keep" (food, nourishment), from Old French retentif, from Medieval Latin retentivus, from past-participle stem of Latin retinere "to hold back, retain" (see retain).ETD retentive (adj.).2

    The mental sense of "good at remembering, having a good memory" is from early 15c. The general sense of "having the property of retaining or keeping" is from 1580s. Related: Retentively; retentiveness.ETD retentive (adj.).3

    retention (n.)

    late 14c., retencioun, "the keeping of fluid or secretions within the body," also "power of capacity," from Latin retentionem (nominative retentio) "a retaining, a holding back," noun of action from past-participle stem of retinere (see retain).ETD retention (n.).2

    The mental sense of "remembrance, fact of retaining things in the mind" is from late 15c. As "act of retaining or holding as one's own," from 1610s; retention rate is by 1972.ETD retention (n.).3

    retest (v.)

    also re-test, "test anew or again," 1863, from re- "back, again" + test (v.). Related: Retested; retesting. As a noun, "a new or repeated test," by 1887.ETD retest (v.).2

    rethink (v.)

    also re-think, 1700, "to think again (about something), consider afresh," from re- "back, again" + think (v.). Intransitive sense is by 1748. Related: Rethinking.ETD rethink (v.).2

    retiary (adj.)

    1640s, of spiders, "spinning a web," from Latin retiarius, from rete "a net" (see rete). From 1650s as "net-like."ETD retiary (adj.).2

    In Roman history, a retiarius was a gladiator who wore only a short tunic and carried a trident and a net. "With these implements he endeavored to entangle and despatch his adversary, who was armed with helmet, shield, and sword." [Century Dictionary].ETD retiary (adj.).3

    reticent (adj.)

    "disposed to be silent, disinclined to speak freely," 1822, from Latin reticentem (nominative reticens), present participle of reticere "be silent, keep silent," from re-, here perhaps intensive (see re-), + tacere "be silent" (see tacit). Related: Reticently; reticency.ETD reticent (adj.).2

    reticence (n.)

    "avoidance of saying too much or speaking too freely," c. 1600, from French réticence (16c.), from Latin reticentia "silence, a keeping silent," from present participle stem of reticere "keep silent," from re-, here perhaps intensive (see re-), + tacere "be silent" (see tacit). "Not in common use until after 1830" [OED]. Related: Reticency.ETD reticence (n.).2

    reticle (n.)

    1650s, "a little (casting) net," in many specific or extended senses, from Latin reticulum "little net," a double diminutive of rete "net" (see rete; it also is a doublet of reticule).ETD reticle (n.).2

    reticulate (v.)

    "cover with intersecting lines, divide or mark in such a way as to indicate or resemble a network," 1787, a back-formation from the adjective reticulated "constructed or arranged like a net" (1728); see reticulate (adj.). Related: Reticulating.ETD reticulate (v.).2

    reticule (n.)

    1801, "a ladies' small hand bag," originally of network, later usually of any woven material, from French réticule (18c.) "a net for the hair, a reticule," from Latin reticulum "a little net, network bag," a double diminutive of rete "net" (see rete). The telescopic attachment is so called from 1730s, from a use in French.ETD reticule (n.).2

    reticulate (adj.)

    "reticulated, covered with netted lines, having distinct lines or veins crossing as a network," 1650s, from Latin reticulatus "having a net-like pattern," from reticulum "little net," a double diminutive of rete "net," a word of uncertain origin, perhaps related to Lithuanian rėtis "sieve," or perhaps a loan-word from a non-IE language.ETD reticulate (adj.).2

    reticulation (n.)

    "character of being net-like; a network," 1670s, noun of action or state based on reticulate (adj.).ETD reticulation (n.).2

    reticular (adj.)

    "formed like a (casting) net, like a net in appearance or construction," 1590s, from Modern Latin reticularis, from Latin reticulum "little net," a double diminutive of rete "net" (see rete). Hence also "entangled, complicated" (1818). Related: Reticulary; reticularly.ETD reticular (adj.).2

    reticulum (n.)

    1650s, "second stomach of a ruminant" (so called from the folds of the membrane), from Latin reticulum "a little net" (see rete). The word was later given various uses in biology, cytology, histology, etc., and made a southern constellation by La Caille (1763).ETD reticulum (n.).2

    retinitis (n.)

    "inflammation of the retina," 1821, from retina + -itis "inflammation." Retinitis pigmentosa is attested by 1856.ETD retinitis (n.).2

    retinal (adj.)

    "pertaining to or relating to the retina," 1798; see retina + -al (1). Related: Retinally.ETD retinal (adj.).2

    retina (n.)

    late 14c., "membrane enclosing the eyeball;" c. 1400, "innermost coating of the back of the eyeball;" from Medieval Latin retina "the retina," probably from Vulgar Latin (tunica) *retina, literally "net-like tunic," on resemblance to the network of blood vessels at the back of the eye, and ultimately from Latin rete "net" (see rete).ETD retina (n.).2

    The Vulgar Latin phrase might be Gerard of Cremona's 12c. translation of Arabic (tabaqa) shabakiyyah "netlike (layer)," itself probably a translation of Greek amphiblēstroeidēs (khiton).ETD retina (n.).3

    retinue (n.)

    "a body of retainers, a number or company of persons retained in the service of someone," late 14c., from Old French retenue "group of followers, state of service," literally "that which is retained," noun use of fem. past participle of retenir "to employ, to retain, hold back" (see retain). Related: Retinular.ETD retinue (n.).2

    retired (adj.)

    1580s, "separated from society or public notice, withdrawn into seclusion," past-participle adjective from retire (v.). Meaning "having given up business" is from 1824. Abbreviation ret'd. attested from 1942.ETD retired (adj.).2

    retire (v.)

    1530s, of armies, "to retreat, draw back," also, of persons, "to withdraw" to some place, especially for the sake of privacy; from French retirer "to withdraw (something)," from re- "back" (see re-) + Old French tirer "to draw" (see tirade). Related: Retired; retiring.ETD retire (v.).2

    The sense of "leave one's business or occupation" is by 1660s. The meaning "to leave company and go to bed" is from 1660s. Transitive sense is from 1540s, originally "withdraw, lead back" (troops, etc.); meaning "to remove from active service" is from 1680s. Baseball sense of "to put out" (a batter or team) is recorded by 1874.ETD retire (v.).3

    retiring (adj.)

    1580s, "departing, retreating," present-participle adjective from retire (v.). Also "fond of retiring, disposed to seclusion," hence "unobtrusive, modest, subdued" (1766).ETD retiring (adj.).2

    retirement (n.)

    1590s, "act of retreating, act of falling back," also "act of withdrawing into seclusion," from French retirement (1570s); see retire + -ment. Meaning "privacy, state of being withdrawn from society" is from c. 1600; that of "withdrawal from occupation or business" is from 1640s.ETD retirement (n.).2

    retiracy (n.)

    "retirement, seclusion, solitude," 1824, American English, irregularly from retire, apparently on the model of privacy.ETD retiracy (n.).2

    retiree (n.)

    "one who has retired from a business or occupation," 1945, from retire + -ee. The older word was retirer (16c.) "one who retires or withdraws."ETD retiree (n.).2

    retool (v.)

    also re-tool, 1866, "to shape again with a tool," from re- "back, again" + tool (v.). Meaning "to furnish a factory with new equipment" is recorded from 1940. Related: Retooled; retooling.ETD retool (v.).2

    retort (v.)

    1550s, "make return in kind" (especially of an injury), from Old French retort and directly from Latin retortus, past participle of retorquere "turn back, twist back, throw back," from re- "back" (see re-) + torquere "to twist" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist"). Applied to exchanges of jest or sarcasm by c. 1600, hence "say or utter sharply and aggressively in reply" (1620s). Related: Retorted; retorting.ETD retort (v.).2

    retort (n.1)

    "act of retorting, a sharp or incisive reply," c. 1600, from retort (v.).ETD retort (n.1).2

    retort (n.2)

    "vessel with a long neck bent downward, used in chemistry for distilling or effecting decomposition by the aid of heat," c. 1600, from French retorte, from Medieval Latin *retorta "a retort, a vessel with a bent neck," literally "a thing bent or twisted," from past-participle stem of Latin retorquere "turn back, twist back, throw back," from re- "back" (see re-) + torquere "to twist" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist").ETD retort (n.2).2

    retortion (n.)

    "act of turning or bending backward," 1590s, from Medieval Latin retortionem (nominative retortio), noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin retorquere "turn back, twist back, throw back," from re- "back" (see re-) + torquere "to twist" (from PIE root *terkw- "to twist"). Also retorsion (1640s).ETD retortion (n.).2

    retouch (v.)

    "amend or improve by fresh touches," 1680s, from French retoucher (13c.) "to touch again" (with a view to improving), from re- "again" (see re-) + toucher (see touch (v.)). Related: Retouched; retouching; retoucher.ETD retouch (v.).2

    retrace (v.)

    1690s, "trace back to a source," from French retracer "to trace again," earlier retracier, from re- "again" (see re-) + tracier "to trace" (see trace (v.)). Sense of "go back upon" (one's steps, path, etc.) is by 1794. Related: Retraced; retracing.ETD retrace (v.).2

    retractable (adj.)

    1610s, "capable of being disowned, that may be retracted;" 1769 as "capable of being drawn in;" see retract + -able. Also sometimes spelled retractible. Related: Retractability.ETD retractable (adj.).2

    retract (v.)

    early 15c., retracten, "to draw (something) back, draw in, absorb," from Old French retracter (14c.) and directly from Latin retractus, past participle of retrahere "to draw back" (see retraction).ETD retract (v.).2

    Sense of "to revoke, recant, take back" (an offer, declaration, etc.), is attested from 1540s, probably a back-formation from retraction. Of body parts, etc., "draw or shrink back, draw in," 1660s. Related: Retracted; retracting.ETD retract (v.).3

    retraction (n.)

    late 14c., retraccioun, "withdrawal of an opinion," from Latin retractionem (nominative retractio) "a drawing back, hesitation, refusal," noun of action from past-participle stem of retractare "revoke, cancel," from re- "back" (see re-) + tractere "draw violently," frequentative of trahere "to draw" (see tract (n.1)).ETD retraction (n.).2

    Originally the English title of a book by St. Augustine ("Retraciones") correcting his former writings. General sense of "a withdrawal or drawing back" is from early 15c. The meaning "recantation of opinion with admission of error" is from 1540s.ETD retraction (n.).3

    retrain (v.)

    also re-train, "train again, teach (someone already skilled or trained) a new skill," 1905, from re- "back, again" + train (v.). Related: Retrained; retraining.ETD retrain (v.).2

    retransmission (n.)

    "transmission of what has been received to another destination," 1788, from re- "back, again" + transmission.ETD retransmission (n.).2

    retransmit (v.)

    "transmit further on or back again," 1868, from re- "back, again" + transmit (v.). Related: Retransmitted; retransmitting.ETD retransmit (v.).2

    retread (v.)

    "put a new tread on (a tire)," 1908; see re- "back, again" + tread (n.). The noun is attested from 1914; in World War I it was Australian slang for "a re-enlisted soldier."ETD retread (v.).2

    retreat (v.)

    early 15c., retreten, "to draw in, draw back, leave the extremities," also "to fall back from battle;" from retreat (n.) and in part from Old French retret, retrait, past participle of retrere "to draw back." Related: Retreated; retreating.ETD retreat (v.).2

    retreat (n.)

    c. 1300, retrete, "a step backward;" late 14c., "act of retiring or withdrawing; military signal for retiring from action or exercise," from Old French retret, retrait, noun use of past participle of retrere "draw back," from Latin retrahere "draw back, withdraw, call back," from re- "back" (see re-) + trahere "to draw" (see tract (n.1)).ETD retreat (n.).2

    Meaning "place of seclusion" is from early 15c.; sense of "establishment for mentally ill persons" is from 1797. Meaning "period of retirement for religious self-examination" is from 1756.ETD retreat (n.).3

    retrenchment (n.)

    1580s in the military sense of "interior defensive works;" see retrench (v.1) + -ment. In the sense of "action of lopping off or pruning" it is attested from c. 1600, from obsolete French retrenchement "a cutting off or out," from retrencher, later retrancher (see retrench (v.2)). The sense of "act of economizing" is from 1660s.ETD retrenchment (n.).2

    retrench (v.2)

    "cut off, cut down, pare away" (expenses, etc.), 1620s, from obsolete French retrencher "to cut off, lessen, shorten" (Modern French retrancher, Old French retrenchier), from re- "back" (see re-) + Old French trenchier "to cut" (see trench). Especially "reduce (expenses) by economy" (1709). Related: Retrenched; retrenching.ETD retrench (v.2).2

    retrench (v.1)

    1590s, "dig a new trench as a second line of defense," 1590s, probably a back-formation from retrenchment in the military sense. Related: Retrenched; retrenching.ETD retrench (v.1).2

    retrial (n.)

    "repetition of a trial, a second or new trial," 1813, from re- "again" + trial (n.).ETD retrial (n.).2

    retribution (n.)

    late 14c., retribucioun, "repayment," from Old French retribution, retribucion, and directly from Latin retributionem (nominative retributio) "recompense, repayment," noun of action from past-participle stem of retribuere "hand back, repay," from re- "back" (see re-) + tribuere "to assign, allot" (see tribute).ETD retribution (n.).2

    Originally "that which is given in return for past good or evil," but modern use tends to be restricted to "evil given for evil done." Day of retribution (1520s), in Christian theology, is the time of divine reward or punishment in a future life.ETD retribution (n.).3

    retributive (adj.)

    "making or bringing requital, retaliative, characterized by retribution," 1670s, from retribute + -ive. Related: Retributively.ETD retributive (adj.).2

    retribute (v.)

    "give in return, restore, pay back," 1570s, from Latin retributus, past participle of retribuere "give back, restore, repay" (see retribution). Related: Retributed; retributing.ETD retribute (v.).2

    retrieval (n.)

    "act or process of retrieving," 1640s, from retrieve + -al (2).ETD retrieval (n.).2

    retrieve (v.)

    early 15c., retreven, "find or discover again," originally in reference to dogs finding lost game, from retruev-, stem of Old French retreuver (Modern French retrouver) "find again, recover, meet again, recognize," from re- "again" (see re-) + trouver "to find," probably from Vulgar Latin *tropare "to compose," from Greek tropos "a turn, way, manner" (from PIE root *trep- "to turn").ETD retrieve (v.).2

    Altered 16c. to retrive; modern form is from mid-17c. Specifically, of a dog, "to find and bring to hand game wounded or killed by a sportsman" is by 1856. The mental sense of "recall, recover by effort of memory" is from 1640s; computer sense of "obtain (stored information) again" is by 1962.ETD retrieve (v.).3

    retriever (n.)

    late 15c., "dog used to set up game again," agent noun from retrieve (v.). As "one of a breed specially suited to search for and fetch dead or wounded game" is by 1830.ETD retriever (n.).2

    retrievable (adj.)

    "capable of being recovered," 1711, from retrieve (v.) + -able.ETD retrievable (adj.).2

    retro (adj.)

    1974, from French rétro (1973), supposedly first used of a revival c. 1968 of Eva Peron-inspired fashions and short for rétrograde (see retrograde). There is an isolated use in English from 1768, and the word apparently was used in 19c. French as a term in billiards. As a noun, short for retro-rocket (1948) from 1961.ETD retro (adj.).2


    word-forming element of Latin origin meaning "backwards; behind," from Latin retro (prep.) "backward, back, behind," usually in reference to place or position, rarely of time, "formerly, in the past," probably originally the ablative form of *reteros, based on re- "back" (see re-).ETD retro-.2

    Common in combinations in post-classical Latin (the classical equivalent was post-). Active in English as a word-forming element from mid-20c.ETD retro-.3

    retroactive (adj.)

    of powers, enactments, etc., "operating with respect to past circumstances, extending to matters which have occurred, holding good for preceding eases," from French rétroactif (16c.) "casting or relating back," from Latin retroact-, past-participle stem of retroagere "drive or turn back," from retro "back" (see retro-) + agere "to drive, set in motion" (from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move"). Related: Retroactively; retroactivity.ETD retroactive (adj.).2

    retrocopulation (n.)

    "copulation backward," of various quadrupeds the male of which faces in the opposite direction from the female during the act, 1640s, from retro- + copulation. Related: Retrocopulate (v.).ETD retrocopulation (n.).2

    retrofit (v.)

    "modify so as to incorporate changes made in later versions of the same model," 1954 (U.S. Air Force), from retro- + fit (v.). Related: Retrofitted; retrofitting. As a noun, "modification made to a product," 1956, from the verb.ETD retrofit (v.).2

    retroflex (adj.)

    "bent backward," 1776, in botany, from Modern Latin retroflexus, past participle of retroflectere "to bend back," from retro "back" (see retro-) + flectere "to bend" (see flexible). The verb "to turn or fold back" (1898) is a back-formation from retroflexed (1806), which is from the adjective. Related: Retroflexion.ETD retroflex (adj.).2

    retrograde (adj.)

    late 14c., of planets, "appearing to move in the sky contrary to the usual direction," from Latin retrogradus "going back, moving backward," from retrogradi "move backward," from retro "backward, reverse" (see retro-) + gradi "to go, step" (from PIE root *ghredh- "to walk, go"). General sense of "tending to revert" is recorded from 1530s; that of "directed backward, in a direction contrary to the original motion" is from 1620s. .ETD retrograde (adj.).2

    retrogression (n.)

    "the act of going backward," in reference to the apparent motion of planets in the sky, 1640s, noun of action, formed on model of progression, from Latin retrogressus, past participle of retrogradi "move backward" (see retrograde). Related: Retrogressional.ETD retrogression (n.).2

    retrogress (v.)

    "move backward; deteriorate," 1816, probably a back-formation from retrogression. Related: Retrogressed; retrogressing.ETD retrogress (v.).2

    retrogressive (adj.)

    "tending to move backward," 1785, from Latin retrogress-, past-participle stem of retrogradi "move backward, go backward" (see retrograde) + -ive. Especially "declining in strength or excellence." Related: Retrogressively.ETD retrogressive (adj.).2

    retro-rocket (n.)

    1945, "anti-submarine weapon fired backward from an airplane at the same velocity as the plane" (so it falls straight down), from retro- + rocket (n.). By 1957 as an auxiliary rocket on a spacecraft to thrust forward and oppose the forward motion.ETD retro-rocket (n.).2

    retrospect (n.)

    c. 1600, "a regard or reference" (to something), from Latin retrospectum, past participle of retrospicere "look back," from retro "back" (see retro-) + specere "look at" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe"). Meaning "survey of past events" is from 1660s.ETD retrospect (n.).2

    retrospective (adj.)

    "directed to or concerned with times past," 1660s, from retrospect + -ive. As a noun, by 1964, short for retrospective exhibition (1908), etc., one showing the development of the work over time. Related: Retrospectively.ETD retrospective (adj.).2

    retrospection (n.)

    1630s, "action of looking back," noun of action from past-participle stem of Latin retrospicere "look back," from retro "back" (see retro-) + specere "look at" (from PIE root *spek- "to observe"). Specifically "act of looking back on times past" (1729).ETD retrospection (n.).2

    retrousse (adj.)

    "turned up (of the nose), pug," 1802, from French (nez) retroussé (16c.), past-participle adjective from retrousser "to turn up."ETD retrousse (adj.).2

    retroversion (n.)

    1580s, "a tilting or turning backward," noun of action or state from Latin retroversus "turned or bent backwards," from retro "back" (see retro-) + versus "turned toward or against," past participle of vertere "to turn, turn back, be turned; convert, transform, translate; be changed" (from PIE root *wer- (2) "to turn, bend").ETD retroversion (n.).2

    retrovirus (n.)

    1977, earlier retravirus (1974), from re(verse) tra(nscriptase) + connective -o- + virus. So called because it contains reverse transcriptase, an enzyme that uses RNA instead of DNA to encode genetic information, which reverses the usual pattern. Remodeled by influence of retro- "backwards."ETD retrovirus (n.).2

    retune (v.)

    also re-tune, "to tune again," c. 1600 of musical instruments; 1974 of engines, from re- "again" + tune (v.). Related: Retuned; retuning.ETD retune (v.).2

    return (v.)

    early 14c., returnen, "to come back, come or go back to a former position" (intransitive), from Old French retorner, retourner "turn back, turn round, return" (Modern French retourner), from re- "back" (see re-) + torner "to turn" (see turn (v.)). Also in part from Medieval Latin retornare, returnare.ETD return (v.).2

    The transitive sense of "report officially, give an official statement or account" (in answer to a writ or demand) is from early 15c.; "to send (someone or something) back" is by mid-15c.; that of "to turn back" is from c. 1500. Meaning "to give in repayment or recompense" is from 1590s; that of "give back, restore" is from c. 1600. Related: Returned; returning.ETD return (v.).3

    return (n.)

    late 14c., "act of coming back" to a place or state, also "formal or official report of election results," from Anglo-French retorn, retourn, Old French retorne, retourne, verbal noun from retorner "turn back, turn round, return" (see return (v.)). Also in part from Medieval Latin returnum. Related: Returns.ETD return (n.).2

    The meaning "official report of the result of an election" is from mid-15c. The sense of "act of giving by way of recompense" is from 1540s. In ball games from 1833 (cricket); specifically in tennis from 1886. The meaning "a yield, a profit, gain" in some trade or occupation is recorded from 1620s. The sense of "a thing sent back" is from 1875.ETD return (n.).3

    To wish someone many happy returns of the day was in Addison (1716). The postal return address, to which an item is to be returned if it could not be delivered, is attested from 1879; return envelope, enclosed for the recipient's reply to a letter, is by 1886. The traveler's return ticket is by 1847.ETD return (n.).4

    re-turn (v.)

    late 14c., "turn (something) over or round or back," from re- "back, again" + turn (v.). Intransitive sense is from early 15c. Related: Re-turned; re-turning.ETD re-turn (v.).2

    returnable (adj.)

    early 15c., "meant to be returned" (of court documents); mid-15c., "likely to return" (of Christ, chance, etc.), from return (v.) + -able. Meaning "capable of being returned" is from 1540s.ETD returnable (adj.).2

    retype (v.)

    also re-type, 1898, "copy with a typewriter," from re- "again" + type (v.). Related: Retyped; retyping.ETD retype (v.).2


    masc. proper name, Old Testament eldest son of Jacob and name of the tribe descended from him, from Greek Rouben, from Hebrew Reubhen, probably literally "Behold a son," from reu, imperative of ra'ah "he saw" + ben "a son."ETD Reuben.2

    As a typical name of a farmer, rustic, or country bumpkin, from 1804. The Reuben sandwich of corned beef, sauerkraut, etc., on rye bread, an American specialty (1956) is the same name but "Not obviously connected" with the "country bumpkin" sense in rube [OED], but is possibly from Reuben's restaurant, a popular spot in New York's Lower East Side. Various other Reubens have been proposed as the originator.ETD Reuben.3


    Proto-Indo-European root meaning "red, ruddy." The only color for which a definite common PIE root word has been found. The initial -e- in the Greek word is because Greek tends to avoid beginning words with -r-.ETD *reudh-.2

    It forms all or part of: bilirubin; corroborate; Eritrea; erysipelas; erythema; erythro-; Radnor; red; redskin; roan; robust; rooibos; Rotwelsch; rouge; roux; rowan; rubella; rubicund; rubric; ruby; ruddock; ruddy; rufous; Rufus; russet; rust.ETD *reudh-.3

    It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin ruber, also dialectal rufus "light red," mostly of hair; Greek erythros; Sanskrit rudhira-; Avestan raoidita-; Old Church Slavonic rudru, Polish rumiany, Russian rumjanyj "flushed, red," of complexions, etc.; Lithuanian raudas; Old Irish ruad, Welsh rhudd, Breton ruz "red."ETD *reudh-.4

    reunification (n.)

    "action of or state of being reduced to unity," 1852; see re- + unification.ETD reunification (n.).2

    reunify (v.)

    also re-unify, "bring back to a state of union or unity," 1879, from re- "back, again" + unify. Related: Reunified; reunifying.ETD reunify (v.).2

    reunion (n.)

    c. 1600, "act of coming together again," from re- "back, again" + union; or from French réunion (1540s). Meaning "a meeting of persons of previous connection" is from 1820.ETD reunion (n.).2

    The island of Reunion, formerly known as Bourbon, was renamed during the French Revolution (1793) in commemoration of the 1792 union of revolutionaries from Marseilles with the National Guard in Paris, renamed back to Bourbon after 1815, then back to the Revolutionary name after 1848.ETD reunion (n.).3

    reunite (v.)

    c. 1500, reuniten, "join after separation, unite or bring together again" (transitive), from Medieval Latin reunitus, past participle of reunire "unite again," from re- "again" (here perhaps "repetition of an action;" see re-) + Late Latin unire "join together, make into one" (see unite). Intransitive sense of "come together again" is by 1650s. Related: Reunited; reuniting.ETD reunite (v.).2

    re-up (v.)

    "re-enlist," by 1906, U.S. armed forces slang, from re- "back, again" + up (v.) "enlist." Related: Re-upped; re-upping.ETD re-up (v.).2

    reupholster (v.)

    "upholster anew," 1872, from re- "again" + upholster. Related: Reupholstered; reupholstering.ETD reupholster (v.).2

    reuptake (n.)

    also re-uptake, by 1977; see re- + uptake (n.).ETD reuptake (n.).2

    reuse (v.)

    also re-use, "to use again," 1843, from re- "again" + use (v.). Related: Reused; reusing.ETD reuse (v.).2

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