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(n) a look at the past; (v) to look back in time. Origin: L retro, back + specere, to look She was much distressed by not being able to get into IITs at the time. However, in retrospect, she realized that was the best thing to have happened to her. The world population reached the five billion mark on 11 July, 1987. The United Nations decided retrospectively in 1989 to observe that day each year as the World Population Day in order to focus everybody's attention on the problem of growing population.