Definition of cumulative
1a : made up of accumulated partsb : increasing by successive additions
2 : tending to prove the same point cumulative evidence
3a : taking effect upon completion of another penal sentence a cumulative sentenceb : 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 interestb of stock : bearing such a dividend cumulative preferred stock
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 Essays, 1841
a cumulative weight gain of 20 pounds over the course of a year
Recent Examples of cumulative from the Web
For example, new hires are now eligible for raises after 22 weeks, instead of a year; and for the first four months of this year, turnover fell 2 percentage points compared with a year ago, to a cumulative 8.5 percent.
The idea of keeping track of your cumulative hits or misses rather than your moment to moment hits or misses has a lot of attraction.
The cumulative death total figures are according to icasualties.org, a website dedicated to keeping detailed documents of fallen service members fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The letter grades are not directly tied to any particular statistic but are representative of a cumulative evaluation of everything – tangible or intangible – that falls under that particular category.
But the Senate and some far-right House members also wanted to give voters the chance to veto property tax rates if cities, counties and special taxing districts plan to increase their cumulative tax revenues by 5 percent.
But more likely the effect was cumulative, not any one slight but one too many, that prompted Merkel to change course.
In total, 44 percent of Incredible cumulative sales (266,000) were sold in its first week.
No matter how much advance planning may have been done, disaster response becomes an improvisation, and society eventually rights itself through the cumulative effect of many separate acts of intelligence.
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.
Origin and Etymology of cumulative
First Known Use: 1605
CUMULATIVE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of cumulative for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of cumulative for Students
: increasing (as in force, strength, amount, or importance) over time Rainy weather had a cumulative effect on the crops.
Medical Definition of cumulative
: increasing in effect by successive doses (as of a drug or poison) cumulative poisoning by organochlorine pesticides—Jack Clincy
Legal Definition of cumulative
1 : increasing by successive additions
2 : tending to prove the same point cumulative testimony
3 : following in time
Seen and Heard
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