Definition of recidivism
: a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior; especially : relapse into criminal behavior
Did You Know?
Recidivism means literally "a falling back" and usually implies "into bad habits." It comes from the Latin word recidivus, which means "recurring." "Recidivus" itself came from the Latin verb recidere, which is a composite of the prefix re- and the verb "cadere" (meaning "to fall") and means "to fall back." "Recidivists" tend to relapse, or "fall back," into old habits and particularly crime. "Deciduous" and "incident" are two other English words that have roots in "cadere." "Deciduous" comes from the verb "decidere" (de- plus cadere), which means "to fall off." And "incident" comes from "incidere" ("in" plus "cadere"), which means "to fall into."
First Known Use of recidivism
Medical Definition of recidivism
: a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior <high recidivism rates after cessation of smoking—A. E. Kazdin et al>
Legal Definition of recidivism
: relapse into criminal behavior
Learn More about recidivism
Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about recidivism
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