- operative with respect to past occurrences, as a statute; retrospective: a retroactive law.
- pertaining to a pay raise effective as of a past date.
- applying or referring to the pastretroactive legislation
- effective or operative from a date or for a period in the past
1610s, from French rétroactif (16c.) “casting or relating back,” from Latin retroact-, past participle stem of retroagere “drive or turn back,” from retro- “back” (see retro-) + agere “to drive, set in motion” (see act (v.)). Related: Retroactively.