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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web India has recorded 1 million COVID-19 cases over the last three days, pushing the cumulative total to more than 18.3 million in the country, second only to the United States. Chronicle Staff, San Francisco Chronicle, "Coronavirus news from the Bay Area: April 29-May 5, 2021," 9 May 2021 Florida added 4,165 coronavirus cases Friday to bring the cumulative total to 2,262,598. Garfield Hylton,, "COVID-19 in Florida: 4,165 new infections, 86 more residents dead," 7 May 2021 Florida added 5,178 coronavirus cases Wednesday to bring the cumulative total to 2,222,546. Tiffini Theisen,, "COVID death toll for Florida residents surpasses 35,000," 28 Apr. 2021 Internationally, the film earned $27.6 million, for a global cumulative total of $50.1 million. Sonaiya Kelley, Los Angeles Times, "‘Mortal Kombat’ and ‘Demon Slayer’ open above expectations at the box office," 25 Apr. 2021 The 57 deaths reported Monday brings the cumulative total to 10,768. Jackie Borchardt, The Enquirer, "Ohio adds 4,334 COVID-19 cases, 57 deaths on Monday," 25 Jan. 2021 Florida added 7,296 coronavirus cases Friday to bring the cumulative total to 2,155,744. Garfield Hylton,, "COVID in Florida: 7,296 new infections; 92 new deaths are tops this week," 16 Apr. 2021 The death rate is currently above the European Union average with the cumulative total at more than 8,300. Derek Gatopoulos And Costas Kantouris, Star Tribune, "Stores in Greece open amid virus surge to help save economy," 5 Apr. 2021 A few dozen others separately settled on private terms, for a cumulative total of more than $1.1 billion, the school said. Sara Randazzo, WSJ, "USC Settles Sex-Abuse Claims Against Campus Gynecologist for $852 Million," 26 Mar. 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.

See More

First Known Use of cumulative

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 1b

History and Etymology for cumulative

see cumulate

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about cumulative

Time Traveler for cumulative

Time Traveler

The first known use of cumulative was in 1605

See more words from the same year

Statistics for cumulative

Last Updated

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Cumulative.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more


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

Comments on cumulative

What made you want to look up cumulative? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words Used by Nabokov Quiz

  • image1676440788
  • Choose the best definition or synonym for the word in bold: "There are some eructations that sound like cheers—at least, mine did." Lolita
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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