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

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
Recent Examples on the Web The cumulative effect is that women feel more burned out now in the US than at the height of covid restrictions and school closures. Cassie Werber, Quartz, 5 May 2022 The cumulative effect is a formula that focuses on hydrating, defending, and strengthening your hair to keep it as healthy as possible. Sarah Y. Wu, Glamour, 22 Apr. 2022 The truth is that Biden has been pulled down by all of this and more — and above all by the cumulative effect of all these stories combined with the reactive way the president and his team have responded to them. Damon Linker, The Week, 19 Apr. 2022 There will be a cumulative effect to gradually reduce prices, according to Heller. Tristan Bove, Fortune, 18 Apr. 2022 The cumulative effect of theses changes is meaningful. Nafeesah Allen,, 29 Mar. 2022 The cumulative effect of all these factors will weaken Trump's resolve. Richard N. Bond, CNN, 23 Mar. 2022 Even without these resources available to global consumers, Russia will quickly feel the cumulative effect of the measures already put in place. Milton Ezrati, Forbes, 7 Mar. 2022 The cumulative effect on Russia’s economy of the sanctions could add to global inflation, the group warned. Ian Talley, WSJ, 28 Feb. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near cumulative



cumulative distribution function

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Statistics for cumulative

Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Cumulative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for cumulative


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


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

More from Merriam-Webster on cumulative

Nglish: Translation of cumulative for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of cumulative for Arabic Speakers


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