recessive

1 of 2

adjective

re·​ces·​sive ri-ˈse-siv How to pronounce recessive (audio)
1
a
: tending to recede
2
a
: producing little or no phenotypic effect when occurring in heterozygous condition with a contrasting allele
recessive genes
b
: expressed only when the determining gene is in the homozygous condition
recessive traits
a recessive disease
recessively adverb
recessiveness noun

recessive

2 of 2

noun

1
: an organism possessing one or more recessive characters
2
: a recessive character or gene

Examples of recessive in a Sentence

Adjective a recessive genius who was most comfortable working alone in his chemistry lab
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
According to the National Wild Turkey Foundation, a smoke phase turkey results from an unusual recessive condition known as leucism that affects the pigmentation of the birds’ feathers. Sage Marshall, Field & Stream, 29 May 2024 This is because cystic fibrosis is a recessive disorder, meaning a mother with CF could have a child with CF only if the father also passed on a CF mutation. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, 19 Mar. 2024 Whereas Alejandro is recessive and meek — Torres plays him with a downcast, socially awkward frown and a bouncy trot that adds to the air of dreamy winsomeness — Elizabeth is a human force majeure, all magenta hair and outsize shoulder pads. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 13 Mar. 2024 That year, scientists identified the recessive gene behind cystic fibrosis, which encodes a protein called CFTR that controls the flow of salt and water. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, 7 Mar. 2024 That was precisely the case with beta- thalassemia, another recessive genetic blood disorder, in Cyprus. Krithika Varagur, Harper's Magazine, 10 July 2023 But the film’s biggest problem is the perennial blank slate at its nominal center, who is recessive to the point of being inert; demure to the point of complete disengagement. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 1 Nov. 2023 Whereas a recessive allele requires two instances of it to be inherited together. Mira Lazine, Discover Magazine, 12 Sep. 2022 Without a powerful performance at its center — both Lawther and Wright are awkward and recessive — the cracks in Icke’s conception and craft gape wide. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 30 June 2022
Noun
The big, accessible Now dominates a recessive, endangered Then. Holland Cotter, New York Times, 4 Apr. 2024 Apart from her, the non-popular kids seemed mostly bland and recessive. Mary Gaitskill, The New Yorker, 5 Feb. 2024 The ability to generate double-recessives would have been a valuable lab tool in itself. Jennifer Kahn, New York Times, 8 Jan. 2020

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

Word History

First Known Use

Adjective

1654, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

1900, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of recessive was in 1654

Dictionary Entries Near recessive

Cite this Entry

“Recessive.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/recessive. Accessed 24 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

recessive

1 of 2 adjective
re·​ces·​sive ri-ˈses-iv How to pronounce recessive (audio)
1
: tending to go back
2
: producing a bodily characteristic (as eye color) when homozygous and not masked by a copy of the gene that is dominant
recessive genes
also : exhibited by the body only when the determining gene is homozygous
blue eye color is a recessive trait
recessively adverb
recessiveness noun

recessive

2 of 2 noun
1
: a recessive characteristic or gene
2
: an individual that has one or more recessive characteristics

Medical Definition

recessive

1 of 2 adjective
re·​ces·​sive ri-ˈses-iv How to pronounce recessive (audio)
1
: producing little or no phenotypic effect when occurring in heterozygous condition with a contrasting allele
recessive genes
2
: expressed only when the determining gene is in the homozygous condition
recessive traits
recessively adverb
recessiveness noun

recessive

2 of 2 noun
1
: a recessive character or gene
2
: an organism possessing one or more recessive characters

More from Merriam-Webster on recessive

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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