Meaning of “retroactive” in the English Dictionary

"retroactive" in British English

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retroactiveadjective

uk /ˌret.rəʊˈæk.tɪv/ us /ˌret.roʊˈæk.tɪv/ also retrospective formal

If a law or decision, etc. is retroactive, it has effect from a date before it was approved:

the first British law to have retroactive effect
retroactively
adverb uk /ˌret.rəʊˈæk.tɪv.li/ us /ˌret.roʊˈæk.tɪv.li/

The courts cannot apply a new rule retroactively.

(Definition of “retroactive” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"retroactive" in American English

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retroactiveadjective [ not gradable ]

us /ˌre·troʊˈæk·tɪv/

(of a law or other agreement) having effect from the time before the law or agreement was approved:

I’m getting a retroactive salary increase.
retroactively
adverb [ not gradable ] us /ˌre·troʊˈæk·tɪv·li/

The courts cannot apply a new rule retroactively.

(Definition of “retroactive” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"retroactive" in Business English

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retroactiveadjective

uk /ˌretrəʊˈæktɪv/ us LAW

if a law, decision, etc. is retroactive, it has effect from a date in the past before it was approved:

The changes will not be retroactive.
The Justice Department had opposed the retroactive application of the guidelines.
retroactive to sth The proposed pay raises are retroactive to July 1.

See also

(Definition of “retroactive” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)