re·​cid·​i·​vate | \ ri-ˈsi-də-ˌvāt How to pronounce recidivate (audio) \
recidivated; recidivating; recidivates

Definition of recidivate

intransitive verb

: to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior and especially delinquency or criminal activity : to exhibit recidivism There are three things that exponentially decrease the likelihood that an offender will recidivate. Offenders who obtain a diploma or GED certificate, obtain a job skill and maintain gainful employment are far more likely to break out of this dreaded cycle.— Christopher Bowman

First Known Use of recidivate

1528, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for recidivate

borrowed from Medieval Latin recidīvātus, past participle of recidīvāre "to relapse into sin or crime," verbal derivative of Latin recidīvus "recurring, relapsing," from recidere "to fall back, sink back, relapse" (from re- re- + cadere "to fall") + -īvus -ive — more at chance entry 1

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The first known use of recidivate was in 1528

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Cite this Entry

“Recidivate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for recidivate


intransitive verb
re·​cid·​i·​vate | \ ri-ˈsi-də-ˌvāt \
recidivated; recidivating

Legal Definition of recidivate

: to return to criminal activity

History and Etymology for recidivate

Medieval Latin recidivatus, past participle of recidivare to fall back, relapse, from Latin recidivus falling back, recurring

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