Todays Word: retrodiction

Word: retrodiction


noun: Using present information to make an assertion about the past; an instance of such an assertion.


From Latin retro- (back) + dicere (to say). Ultimately from the Indo-European root deik- (to show, to pronounce solemnly), which is also the source of judge, verdict, vendetta, revenge, indicate, dictate, and paradigm. Earliest documented use: 1895.


“Dan Gardner, for all his concern about prediction, has no qualms about retrodiction, even of the distant, unknowable past.”
Kathryn Schulz; What Lies Ahead?; The New York Times; Mar 27, 2011.

“Turning to comets, F. Richard Stephenson matches modern retrodiction against Babylonian and Chinese records to conclude that we have been sighting Halley’s comet on each of its returns since 240 BCE.”
Michael S. Mahoney; Standing on the Shoulders of Giants; Science (Washington, DC); May 17, 1991.


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