Definition of retroflex in US English:


(also retroflexed)


Anatomy Medicine
  • 1Turned backward.

    ‘retroflex fibers’
    • ‘Full frontal constraint may flatten the face, limit mandibular growth, and result in a retroflexed head with a prominent occipital shelf.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The retroflexed view confirmed a loose wrap with prolapsing gastric folds.’
    1. 1.1Phonetics Pronounced with the tip of the tongue curled up toward the hard palate.
      ‘the retroflex /r’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’


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