I wonder whether it's correct to say hindcastive, similarly to what we do with predictive to denote the ability to predict. If not, what would be an equivalent term? possibly:

  • retrodictive (in the OED)
  • back-casting
  • retrospective forecasting

NB: the term isn't even listed in the OED, unlike in Webster's, but it's known in scientific literature.

Example sentence:

2002 Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 583 18/1 Not merely a prediction as to the future course of the illness, but..a retrodiction of what had already taken place.

and hence

1932 H. H. Price Perception vii. 201 Any perceptual act is bound to be among other things a prediction,..and in the same way it must be ‘retrodictive’ as well.


  • 2
    Hindcast is in dictionaries, as is retrodictive, but hindcastive is not. Both refer to estimating or predicting an earlier state of a system from the current state.
    – Xanne
    Nov 12, 2020 at 6:04
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    "Hindcast" is rare word which is only understood in certain specialties.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 12, 2020 at 12:50
  • 2
    @HotLicks - I thought it was when you moon your web camera.
    – Jim
    Nov 12, 2020 at 17:47
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    If you are interested only in whether some word would be regarded as acceptable within a specific community, rather than among English speakers at large, you are likely to get a more useful answer by directing the question specifically to people from that community. There are many terms that may be accepted within a particular community, as a part of its jargon, even though they are not accepted otherwise.
    – jsw29
    Nov 13, 2020 at 15:54
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    I do wonder if "hindsight" doesn't fit the need for a term in many contexts.
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 11, 2021 at 19:14

2 Answers 2


A retrodiction is a prediction about what you expect to see or not see in a record of the past. We do not expect to see evidence of large mammals dating earlier than 65 million years ago. Hindcast is an interesting possibility but it will be difficult to make it seem appropriate for use without a good context for it to live in.

  • Thanks Elliot. Not sure that I understand your reasoning about hindcast though. Could you please elaborate a bit more? Nov 12, 2020 at 4:19
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    This answer needs references.
    – Xanne
    Nov 12, 2020 at 6:04

Postdiction according to wikipedia is an 'explanation after the fact'.

Witten, a famous physicist, once said that string theory postdicted some phenomena that had already been explained. I forget what.

Again, according to wikipedia theologians use this in the latin form: vaticinium ex eventu, meaning 'foretelling after the event'.

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