Retardation is often used to describe problems in human mental development that result in a lack of intelligence or other kinds of physical or learning delays.

Retardation can also indicate when something is kept from growing or developing fully. A lack of sunlight might cause retardation of your tomato plants, for example, stunting their growth. You can use retardation to describe other kinds of slowness or delays too, including simply a decrease in speed. In fact, the Latin root word, retardare, means "to make slow, delay, keep back, or hinder."

Definitions of retardation
  1. noun
    the act of slowing down or falling behind
    synonyms: lag, slowdown
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    type of:
    delay, holdup
    the act of delaying; inactivity resulting in something being put off until a later time
  2. noun
    the extent to which something is delayed or held back
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    type of:
    delay, hold, postponement, time lag, wait
    time during which some action is awaited
  3. noun
    a decrease in rate of change
    synonyms: deceleration, slowing
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    an increase in rate of change
    type of:
    alteration, change, modification
    an event that occurs when something passes from one state or phase to another
  4. noun
    any agent that retards or delays or hinders
    synonyms: retardant, retardent
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    type of:
    an active and efficient cause; capable of producing a certain effect
  5. noun
    lack of normal development of intellectual capacities
    synonyms: backwardness, mental retardation, slowness, subnormality
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    abnormality, mental defectiveness
    retardation sufficient to fall outside the normal range of intelligence
    mental deficiency, moronity
    mild mental retardation
    amentia, idiocy
    extreme mental retardation
    retardation more severe than a moron but not as severe as an idiot
    severe mental deficiency
    type of:
    a poor ability to understand or to profit from experience
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