cu·​mu·​la·​tive | \ ˈkyü-myə-lə-tiv How to pronounce cumulative (audio) , -ˌlā- \

Definition of cumulative

1a : increasing by successive additions
b : made up of accumulated parts
2 : tending to prove the same point cumulative evidence
3a : taking effect upon completion of another penal sentence a cumulative sentence
b : increasing in severity with repetition of the offense cumulative penalty
4 : formed by the addition of new material of the same kind a cumulative book index
5 : 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
6 finance
a : to be added if not paid when normally due to the next payment or a future payment cumulative preferred dividends cumulative interest
b of stock : bearing such a dividend cumulative preferred stock

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Other Words from cumulative

cumulatively adverb
cumulativeness noun

Examples of cumulative in a Sentence

… 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 They began looking at the cumulative effect of stress and realized that, while there might have been an incident that finally triggered the madness, a series of previous events had lowered the soldier's emotional resistance. — Michael Fleming and Roger Manvell, Psychology Today, July 1987 Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous, half possession. — Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Self-Reliance," in Essays1841 a cumulative weight gain of 20 pounds over the course of a year
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Recent Examples on the Web That week, the song racked up 54.42 million global on-demand audio and video streams, bringing its cumulative total to 1.033 billion. Keith Caulfield, Billboard, "Olivia Rodrigo's 'Drivers License' Is the First Song to Hit 1 Billion Global Streams in 2021," 1 Apr. 2021 This past month, Florida surpassed 2 million cumulative infections. Nelly Ontiveros,, "Sunday to Sunday: Florida reports 35,656 new cases, 436 resident deaths," 28 Mar. 2021 Even with three No. 1’s still alive, the cumulative seed total of the 16 teams remaining is 94. Eddie Timanus, USA TODAY, "It's not you. This March is madder then ever. The men's NCAA tournament seeds left show it," 23 Mar. 2021 Below are cumulative season stats, as provided by Dallas-area coaches, as of March 17. Dallas News, "Area boys soccer leaders (March 17): See who has the best stats in D-FW," 17 Mar. 2021 The state’s cumulative death toll increased to 31,696, including 31,135 residents of Florida., "4-year-old dies in Hardee County, becoming Florida’s youngest COVID-19 death," 2 Mar. 2021 Minnesota reported 1,410 new cases Thursday for a total of 465,176, with 17 new deaths for a cumulative toll of 6,251. Steve Karnowski, Star Tribune, "Minnesota health officials discourage Super Bowl parties," 4 Feb. 2021 The health department added 72 backlogged deaths that occurred between July 4 and Jan. 14, raising the cumulative death toll from the pandemic to 2,143. Lauren Caruba, San Antonio Express-News, "COVID-19 hospitalizations continue to fall in San Antonio as officials report 11 new, 72 backlogged deaths," 31 Jan. 2021 The administration expects the cumulative death toll from the pandemic to reach 500,000 by next month. Aidin Vaziri,, "Biden calls for international travelers arriving at SFO and other U.S. airports to get pre-departure coronavirus tests," 21 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'cumulative.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of cumulative

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for cumulative

see cumulate

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Time Traveler for cumulative

Time Traveler

The first known use of cumulative was in 1605

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Statistics for cumulative

Last Updated

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cumulative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for cumulative



English Language Learners Definition of cumulative

: increasing or becoming better or worse over time through a series of additions
: including or adding together all of the things that came before


cu·​mu·​la·​tive | \ ˈkyü-myə-lə-tiv How to pronounce cumulative (audio) , -ˌlā- \

Kids Definition of cumulative

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


cu·​mu·​la·​tive | \ ˈkyü-myə-lət-iv, -ˌlāt- How to pronounce cumulative (audio) \

Medical Definition of cumulative

: increasing in effect by successive doses (as of a drug or poison) cumulative poisoning by organochlorine pesticides— Jack Clincy

Other Words from cumulative

cumulatively adverb

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cu·​mu·​la·​tive | \ ˈkyü-myə-lə-tiv, -ˌlā- How to pronounce cumulative (audio) \

Legal Definition of cumulative

1 : increasing by successive additions
2 : tending to prove the same point cumulative testimony
3 : following in time

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Comments on cumulative

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