Definition of retrospection in US English:



  • The action of looking back on or reviewing past events or situations, especially those in one's own life.

    ‘he was disinclined to indulge in retrospection’
    • ‘The past is therefore not bathed in the light of retrospection, but is presented in the ordinary, nondramatic tones of immediacy.’
    • ‘The glorious uncertainties of the city bus services afford ample time for reflection and retrospection for commuters at the bus stops, it is averred.’
    • ‘Marinetti, described as ‘The Caffeine of Europe’, was setting out to rid European art of its lethargy and retrospection in a new movement that demanded room for youth, violence and daring.’
    • ‘You might expect any dance organization celebrating its golden anniversary to indulge in a bit of retrospection.’
    • ‘Dealing first with the issue of retrospection, Mr Elias expressed the view that the indemnity could not operate retrospectively so as to apply to acts done or decisions made prior to the coming into force of the indemnity.’
    • ‘Interestingly, Stevenson's fondness for retrospection does not seem to have blinded him but rather to have sharpened his sensitivity to seeing.’
    • ‘If accounting were ‘only accounting,’ then an organization could not make predictive and prescriptive changes to its functions based on this institutional retrospection, which it surely needs to do.’
    • ‘Aren't these occasions meant to offer works that are new rather than opportunities for retrospection?’
    • ‘Personification and allegory were also introduced as a new means of expression, although the Athenian School remained famous for its traditional handling of heroic subjects; near the end of the 4th century it is marked by retrospection.’
    • ‘But he said Parliament had approved any measure of retrospection which would enable a judgment to be upset because of the change in the limitation period.’
    • ‘This process, known as dialogic retrospection, helped guide the analysis of the data so as to best reflect the lived experiences of the participants.’
    • ‘While oral-history interviews are inevitably determined by retrospection, letters reflect immediate concerns and retain a proximate link with the past.’
    • ‘Being wise after the fact is so easy that I have saved the broadest retrospection until nearly the end.’
    • ‘And the fact that he would have been one hundred years old in January 2004 makes retrospection perfectly appropriate and homage nothing less than proper.’
    • ‘Despite much mature retrospection, I can't unsay those mean comments to Mom, undo what 18 years of smoking did to my lungs, nor unwrite the cringe-inducing history of my high school social life.’
    • ‘The life of teachers is on ‘fast-track’ and hence, to prevent it from turning mechanical, there is a need for introspection and retrospection.’
    • ‘With the audience rejecting some of type-cast characters played by Mamootty and Mohanlal, it is now time for retrospection for both of them.’
    • ‘He had brought back from Rome thick notebooks and portfolios which he turned into paintings during those years of fervent activity and retrospection.’
    • ‘This writer has no nostalgia to blunt the awfulness and isn't capable of the humour that comes with retrospection.’
    • ‘In the second act, Hamlet immersed himself in fraught retrospection over Ophelia's death.’


Mid 17th century: probably from retrospect (used as a verb).