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re·gres·sive / riˈgresiv/ • adj. 1. becoming less advanced; returning to a former or less developed state: the regressive, infantile wish for the perfect parent of early childhood. ∎  of, relating to, or marked by psychological regression.2. (of a tax) taking a proportionally greater amount from those on lower incomes.3. Philos. proceeding from effect to cause or from particular to universal.DERIVATIVES: re·gres·sive·ly·gres·sive·ness n.