cumulative

adjective

cu·​mu·​la·​tive ˈkyü-myə-lə-tiv How to pronounce cumulative (audio)
-ˌlā-
1
a
: increasing by successive additions
b
: made up of accumulated parts
2
: tending to prove the same point
cumulative evidence
3
a
: 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
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 Over the next decade, the cumulative budget deficits will be 7% smaller than the nonpartisan CBO forecast last year. Fatima Hussein, Fortune, 8 Feb. 2024 The top five generated a cumulative $3.3 billion of subscription revenue with an aggregate 38.0 million subscribers at year-end. Patrick Frater, Variety, 5 Feb. 2024 Their cumulative 64-59 victory over their AFC counterparts at Camping World Stadium in Orlando came after an eventful four days in Florida, over which points are accumulated throughout all events and calculated toward a total score. Ben Morse, CNN, 5 Feb. 2024 In the 1990s, Oregon’s powerful timber industry used its influence to win a series of tax cuts that have cost local governments a cumulative $3 billion. Rob Davis, ProPublica, 2 Feb. 2024 What everyone doesn’t quite understand — at least not yet — is the cumulative mental effect all this losing is having on the group, particularly the players who figure to be with the Sharks organization for years to come. Curtis Pashelka, The Mercury News, 17 Jan. 2024 Indeed, China’s cumulative trade account of $270 billion eclipses the U.S.’s $80 billion. Ivor Ichikowitz, Fortune, 26 Jan. 2024 Those eight chart-toppers have spent 54 cumulative weeks atop the ranking, placing Keys as the woman with the third-most time spent atop the chart behind Aretha Franklin (65 weeks) and Rihanna (56 weeks). Kyle Denis, Billboard, 25 Jan. 2024 Its weekend score was $246,000, lifting its cumulative total to $6.34 million. Patrick Frater, Variety, 22 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'cumulative.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

see cumulate

First Known Use

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

Time Traveler
The first known use of cumulative was in 1605

Dictionary Entries Near cumulative

Cite this Entry

“Cumulative.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cumulative. Accessed 20 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

cumulative

adjective
cu·​mu·​la·​tive ˈkyü-myə-lət-iv How to pronounce cumulative (audio)
-ˌlāt-
: increasing (as in force, strength, or amount) by additions one after another
cumulative effects
cumulatively adverb
cumulativeness noun

Medical Definition

cumulative

adjective
cu·​mu·​la·​tive ˈkyü-myə-lət-iv, -ˌlāt- How to pronounce cumulative (audio)
: increasing in effect by successive doses (as of a drug or poison)
cumulative poisoning by organochlorine pesticidesJack Clincy
cumulatively adverb

Legal Definition

cumulative

adjective
cu·​mu·​la·​tive ˈkyü-myə-lə-tiv, -ˌlā- How to pronounce cumulative (audio)
1
: increasing by successive additions
2
: tending to prove the same point
cumulative testimony
3
: following in time

More from Merriam-Webster on cumulative

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!