Definition of retroflex in English:


(also retroflexed)


Anatomy Medicine
  • 1Turned backwards.

    ‘a retroflexed endoscope’
    • ‘Full frontal constraint may flatten the face, limit mandibular growth, and result in a retroflexed head with a prominent occipital shelf.’
    • ‘The retroflexed view confirmed a loose wrap with prolapsing gastric folds.’
    • ‘The retroflexed view in the stomach demonstrated findings consistent with a slipped fundoplication.’
    • ‘Scarring from adhesions as a result of endometriosis or fibroids can also cause the uterus to shift to a tilted or retroflexed state.’
    1. 1.1Phonetics Pronounced with the tip of the tongue curled up towards the hard palate.
      ‘the retroflex /r’
      • ‘Sicilian, phonetically characterized by the presence of retroflexed consonants, not only keeps all the vowel sounds clear and loud but introduces an epenthetic [i] in some consonantic groups.’
      • ‘Waymamba taught us the sounds of Yolngu Matha, the retroflexed T that sounds like an ‘rt’, like watu, dog, the elusive ‘ng’ that emerges from the back of the throat, heard in the word Yolngu, and the glottal stop that sounds like a hiccup.’
      • ‘It is phonologically impossible since Tamil has no [z] sound and since the retroflex approximant sometimes romanized < z > cannot appear in initial position.’
      • ‘When you write an English word in Urdu, all the t's and d's are retroflex - indicated by a little sign over the top called ‘toy’ - it looks like the flat sign in western musical notation.’
      • ‘What struck me is the retroflexed ‘d’ at the end of the first clip.’


Late 18th century: from Latin retroflex- ‘bent backwards’, from the verb retroflectere, from retro ‘backwards’ + flectere ‘to bend’.