adjective cu·mu·la·tive \ˈkyü-myə-lə-tiv, -ˌlā-\

: increasing or becoming better or worse over time through a series of additions

: including or adding together all of the things that came before

Full Definition of CUMULATIVE

a :  made up of accumulated parts
b :  increasing by successive additions
:  tending to prove the same point <cumulative evidence>
a :  taking effect upon completion of another penal sentence <a cumulative sentence>
b :  increasing in severity with repetition of the offense <cumulative penalty>
:  formed by the addition of new material of the same kind <a cumulative book index>
:  summing or integrating overall data or values of a random variable less than or less than or equal to a specified value <cumulative normal distribution> <cumulative frequency distribution>
cu·mu·la·tive·ly adverb
cu·mu·la·tive·ness noun

Examples of CUMULATIVE

  1. <a cumulative weight gain of 20 pounds over the course of a year>
  2. … Game Boy, which first came out in 1989 as a monochrome handheld toy, has become the most successful of all of the systems, reaching cumulative sales of 110 million units to date … —N'gai Croal, Newsweek, 28 May 2001


(see cumulate)
First Known Use: 1605
CUMULATIVE Defined for Kids


adjective cu·mu·la·tive \ˈkyü-myə-lə-tiv, -ˌlā-\

Definition of CUMULATIVE for Kids

:  increasing (as in force, strength, amount, or importance) over time <Rainy weather had a cumulative effect on the crops.>
Medical Dictionary


adjective cu·mu·la·tive \ˈkyü-myə-lət-iv, -ˌlāt-\

Medical Definition of CUMULATIVE

:  increasing in effect by successive doses (as of a drug or poison) <cumulative poisoning by organochlorine pesticides—Jack Clincy>
cu·mu·la·tive·ly adverb
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