verb (used without object)

  1. to move backward; go back.
  2. to revert to an earlier or less advanced state or form.


  1. the act of going back; return.
  2. the right to go back.
  3. backward movement or course; retrogression.

verb (rɪˈɡrɛs)

  1. (intr) to return or revert, as to a former place, condition, or mode of behaviour
  2. (tr) statistics to measure the extent to which (a dependent variable) is associated with one or more independent variables

noun (ˈriːɡrɛs)

  1. the act of regressing
  2. movement in a backward direction; retrogression
  3. logic a supposed explanation each stage of which requires to be similarly explained, as saying that knowledge requires a justification in terms of propositions themselves known to be true

late 14c., “act of going back,” from Latin regressus “a return, retreat, a going back,” noun use of past participle of regredi “to go back,” from re- “back” (see re-) + gradi “to step, walk” (see grade (n.)).


1550s, “to return to a former state,” from Latin regressus (see regress (n.)). Meaning “to move backward” is from 1823. The psychological sense of “to return to an earlier stage of life” is attested from 1926. Related: Regressed; regressing.

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