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ret·ro·spec·tive / ˌretrəˈspektiv/ • adj. looking back on or dealing with past events or situations: our survey was retrospective. ∎  (of an exhibition or compilation) showing the development of an artist's work over a period of time. ∎  (of a statute or legal decision) taking effect from a date in the past: retrospective pay awards.• n. an exhibition or compilation showing the development of the work of a particular artist over a period of time: a Georgia O'Keeffe retrospective.DERIVATIVES: ret·ro·spec·tive·ly adv.