Consider a collection of artworks ordered chronologically. I would like a term which describes moving through the collection from present to past and a term which describes moving through the collection from past to present.

Traverse meaning moving back and forth seemed to me an interesting starting point.

Retrospective is clearly a related term. However to my mind this means looking with a view to the past from the present. I would like to convey movement towards the past.

Chronological is also related.

Progressive is a candidate for describing moving from past to present, or perhaps even moving from present to past. Time is often described as progressing. However I'm not keen on the connotation of improvement which progression has. I would also like two opposable terms, one for a direction to the present and one for a direction to the past.

Retroverse is a candidate for describing moving from present to past, which I like. It seems to have some precedent. However what I image would be the complementary term, proverse, seems not to exist. What do any of you think about this, does retroverse seem like a suitable term to you? Can anybody think of a more suitable complement to retroverse than proverse? I'm considering using these terms despite proverse perhaps being made up.

Retrochronological perhaps could mean moving from present to past. Does this word exist? It seems a bit unwieldy, I prefer the flavour of retroverse. What would the compliment be? Perhaps simply chronological? Is there a better compliment to chronological than retrochronological? Would you consider retrochronological / chronological to be more proper than retroverse / proverse? Which pair do you prefer?

Can you imagine any other potential terms?

Many thanks for your help!

  • Do you have any reasons for not using 'backwards in time' and 'forwards in time'? These are the normal terms.
    – BoldBen
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 1:24
  • 2
    reverse chronological and chronological.
    – jxh
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 1:34
  • @BoldBen I'd like to use the terms in URLs. The simpler the better. Simple single words would be best. Easily understandable words would be best which means proverse is perhaps not so suitable. I could simply use forward and backward, however I feel both directions are forward, one forwards toward the present and the other forward toward the past. to and fro or back and forth might be suitable as well. Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 1:36
  • @jxh Thanks. I quite like the idea of making a contraction out of those too, as they are for URLs, /reversechrono/ and /chrono/. Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 1:41
  • If you just want a URL, you could reverse the word chronological, i.e., lacigolonorhc. This is mimic'ing the use of gnab gib to refer to the big crunch. But, that might be too obscure and unnecessarily confusing :-)
    – jxh
    Commented Feb 9, 2017 at 1:42

1 Answer 1


Sequential order may fit nicely for traversing forward through art, as it's natural to order it by time in a sequence. Linear may also be a candidate for the same reason.

For the opposite, if you'd like something other than the reverse chronological order, I might suggest Retroversion.

Retroversion via M-W

the act or process of turning back or regressing

It has the defining "retro" portion which gives it a relevant subtext.

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