adjective \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


adjective \ˈkyü-myə-lət-iv, -ˌlāt-\   (Medical Dictionary)

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


Next Word in the Dictionary: cumulative distribution function
Previous Word in the Dictionary: cumulate
All Words Near: cumulative

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up cumulative? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More