cumulative

adjective
cu·​mu·​la·​tive | \ ˈkyü-myə-lə-tiv , -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 means that as of end-2018, mainland markets had drawn a cumulative $94.1 billion through the program, at current exchange rates, while $103.2 billion had flowed south. Joanne Chiu, WSJ, "Stock Disconnect: Mainland Chinese Investors Buy Fewer Shares in Hong Kong," 9 Jan. 2019 And the blows, Straley said, were cumulative; the pain deepened with each new blow. Carol Marbin Miller, miamiherald, "A victim of vile abuse at Florida reform school, he spent his life fighting for justice," 10 July 2018 In other words, damage from loud noises and subsequent hearing disruption is cumulative. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Protect your ears: you might not realize what’s hurting them," 19 June 2018 But the cumulative effect of this year’s news was to cast doubt on whether that project would be completed on time — or at all. Casey Newton, The Verge, "The Verge 2018 tech report card: Facebook," 26 Dec. 2018 The cumulative times for the three phases will be calculated to determine an overall winner. Kim Chatelain, NOLA.com, "Tour de Louisiane bike race set for this weekend in St. Tammany," 4 June 2018 Each athlete will take three runs down the track and each run counts toward the racer’s cumulative time. Dan Gartland, SI.com, "2018 Winter Olympics: Skeleton Guide and Preview for PyeongChang," 2 Feb. 2018 Recall, California is not targeting a cumulative reduction in greenhouse gases. David Roberts, Vox, "California’s cap-and-trade system may be too weak to do its job," 12 Dec. 2018 The cumulative effect of all this unhelpful commentary was mighty. Claire Gillespie, SELF, "What Exactly Does It Mean to Have ‘High-Functioning’ Depression?," 19 Nov. 2018

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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Statistics for cumulative

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for cumulative

The first known use of cumulative was in 1605

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More Definitions for cumulative

cumulative

adjective

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

cumulative

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

Kids Definition of cumulative

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

cumulative

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

Other Words from cumulative

cumulatively adverb

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cumulative

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

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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