Definition of retard in English:



  • Delay or hold back in terms of progress or development.

    ‘his progress was retarded by his limp’
    • ‘The publicly provided good, while valued by the voters, neither stimulates nor retards economic growth throughout the course of the current legislative period.’
    • ‘Such gatekeeping makes no sense for genes expressed in fetal development or childhood, but genetic constructs that retard the onset of aging or protect us from adult cancers might come into play later in life.’
    • ‘Introducing wildlife preserves and adding 100,000 trees to retard the ongoing erosion, this project will also address water and flood management, along with urban planning.’
    • ‘In exchange, she will give him the secret to rejuvenation: when the powder is mixed with another ingredient, it not only retards the aging process, but reverses it completely.’
    • ‘Generally, any stress condition that retards plant growth may increase prussic acid levels in plants.’
    • ‘A nominally progressive tax structure to some degree retards the concentration over time of wealth among individuals.’
    • ‘However, other factors such as weak business confidence may be retarding investment at this time.’
    • ‘But the coconut oil roast also leaves a layer of fat or oil on the outside surface of the nut to retard moisture migration and sogginess of the nut while the ice cream product is in the freezer case.’
    • ‘Food additives perform many valuable functions like increasing flavor, adding extra minerals or other nutrients, and retarding spoilage.’
    • ‘Giocoli claims that Nash's interpretation of game theory was beset by other difficulties retarding its acceptance by mainstream economics.’
    • ‘Famously, Forster accused the educational systems of the time of retarding the emotional development of schoolboys.’
    • ‘Iron deficiency can retard mental development and impair physical growth in children and adolescents and often leads to anemia, which is a deficiency of red blood cells.’
    • ‘More important, the backlash against genetically modified foods is fading as new studies ease fears about the health and environmental effects of such crops, though serious obstacles still retard their potential abroad.’
    • ‘He said the slow pace at which the deal was being negotiated was retarding the development of the park, which he said had remained closed to tourists for sometime.’
    • ‘Restrictive legislation could retard the development of technology and slow the growth of electronic commerce.’
    • ‘A new gas-based fire-protection system has also been installed, which reduces the level of oxygen in the room to retard a fire.’
    • ‘In addition, diuretics can be effective in retarding osteoporosis in postmenopausal patients.’
    • ‘Another side effect of fear is that it absolutely retards the flow of information inside a company.’
    • ‘Social scientists have been examining ways to increase community support for local agriculture and local foods and to retard the loss of agricultural space and renew our connection with the local agro-food system.’
    • ‘Thomison notes, ‘Excess moisture during the early vegetative stages retards corn root development and can kill the deepest roots.’’
    delay, slow down, slow up, hold back, set back, keep back, hold up, postpone, put back, detain, decelerate, put a brake on
    hinder, hamper, obstruct, inhibit, impede, handicap, hamstring, curb, check, restrain, restrict, arrest, interfere with, interrupt, encumber, clog
    throw a spanner in the works of
    throw a monkey wrench in the works of
    stay, trammel, cumber
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informal, offensive
  • A person who has a mental disability (often used as a general term of abuse).

    fool, ass, halfwit, nincompoop, blockhead, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, cretin, imbecile, dullard, moron, simpleton, clod
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  • in retard

    • formal Behind in terms of development or progress.

      ‘I was in retard of them in real knowledge’
      • ‘Because the clocks had been jumped ahead, the day kept feeling in retard of where it actually was.’
      • ‘Means may be provided such that the clock mechanism may display, instead of the correct time for a zone or locality, a time which is in advance or in retard of that time.’


Late 15th century: from French retarder, from Latin retardare, from re- back + tardus slow.