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 film currently has the lowest cumulative lifetime box-office gross of the previous installments. Nick Romano,, "Margot Robbie set to star in new Pirates of the Caribbean movie," 26 June 2020 The county had been struggling to maintain its numbers since early June, reporting a total of 12,778 cumulative cases on Friday, a 25% increase from 10 days prior. USA TODAY, "Tattoos, masks, telemedicine, Yellowstone: News from around our 50 states," 23 June 2020 And with a 15% gain in its stock price on Monday, Fastly surpassed Zoom to become the best performing tech stock during the pandemic, with a cumulative gain of 222%. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "The top tech stock during the pandemic isn’t the one you think it is," 23 June 2020 Anyone coming from a country where there are more than 15 cases per 100,000 over a cumulative 14 days, however, will have to quarantine for two weeks, according to the country’s Ministry of Health, including the UK and Sweden. Alison Fox, Travel + Leisure, "A Country-by-country Guide to Europe's Reopening," 23 June 2020 The Longhorns offense nearly broke the two-season school record for cumulative points during the last two campaigns. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Adjustment going well to new normal in Dobie football country," 23 June 2020 Lowndes has more than 430 cumulative cases per 10,000, by far the highest in the state. Ramsey Archibald |, al, "Alabama adds 433 coronavirus cases Monday following weekend of lower case numbers," 22 June 2020 In small amounts, parabens are harmless; the concern arises from cumulative exposure over decades. James Hamblin, The Atlantic, "You Can Be Too Clean," 22 June 2020 The health department reported 6,268 cumulative probable cases and 244 probable deaths, for a total of 67,097 cases and 6,067 deaths. Emma Dale, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan reports 211 new coronavirus cases, 5 deaths," 19 June 2020

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

30 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Cumulative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for cumulative


How to pronounce cumulative (audio)

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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