Moving or tending backward. Opposite to the usual order; inverted or reversed. Reverting to an earlier or inferior condition. Astronomy Of or relating to the orbital revolution or axial rotation of a planetary or other celestial body that moves clockwise from east to west, in the direction opposite to most celestial bodies. Astronomy Of or relating to the brief, regularly occurring, apparently backward movement of a planetary body in its orbit as viewed against the fixed stars, caused by the differing orbital velocities of Earth and the body observed. Archaic Opposed; contrary. To move or seem to move backward. See Synonyms at recede1. To decline to an inferior state; degenerate.