re·​cid·​i·​vist | \ ri-ˈsi-də-vist How to pronounce recidivist (audio) \

Definition of recidivist

: one who relapses specifically : a habitual criminal

Other Words from recidivist

recidivist adjective
recidivistic \ ri-​ˌsi-​də-​ˈvi-​stik How to pronounce recidivist (audio) \ adjective

Examples of recidivist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In the 1980s, Goodmark said research came out that said arrest was likely to decrease recidivist violence. Alia E. Dastagir, USA TODAY, 23 Oct. 2021 Prosecutors say the images included clear depictions of child pornography and bestiality and show that Nader is a lifelong recidivist. Washington Post, 26 June 2020 While none of them is a BoJack-level recidivist, the friends who’ve helped to prop him up over the years have self-sabotaging patterns of their own. Judy Berman, Time, 30 Jan. 2020 Forgiveness for recidivists is found outside show business, too. The Economist, 5 Dec. 2019 The problem for Schiff, a former prosecutor, was that Trump was an unrepentant recidivist, a President who was going to keep abusing his office as long as he was allowed to do so. Robert P. Baird, The New Yorker, 25 Nov. 2019 There were 67 total transit recidivist arrests in the first quarter of 2019, according to the MTA’s Transit Recidivism Report, which was discussed at Monday’s meeting. Alexa St. John, WSJ, 24 June 2019 Jarvis Taylor had three prior felony convictions, leading the DA’s office to charge him under Georgia’s recidivist law. Bill Rankin, ajc, 8 June 2018 The ProPublica analysis of 7,000 individuals arrested in Broward Country, Florida revealed that this risk assessment tool wrongly identified African-American defendants as potential recidivists at improperly high rates. Peter J. Beshar, Fortune, 28 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'recidivist.' 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 recidivist

1867, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for recidivist

borrowed from French récidiviste, from récidiver "to reappear (of a disease, tumor, etc.), do over, commit a second criminal offense" (going back to Middle French, borrowed from Medieval Latin recidīvāre "to relapse into sin or crime") + -iste -ist entry 1 — more at recidivate

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The first known use of recidivist was in 1867

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Cite this Entry

“Recidivist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for recidivist



English Language Learners Definition of recidivist

: a person who continues to commit crimes even after being caught and punished


re·​cid·​i·​vist | \ -vəst How to pronounce recidivist (audio) \

Medical Definition of recidivist

: one who relapses into a previous behavior or condition especially : a habitual criminal

Other Words from recidivist

recidivist adjective
recidivistic \ -​ˌsid-​ə-​ˈvis-​tik How to pronounce recidivist (audio) \ adjective


re·​cid·​i·​vist | \ ri-ˈsi-də-vist How to pronounce recidivist (audio) \

Legal Definition of recidivist

: an habitual criminal

Other Words from recidivist

recidivist adjective
recidivistic \ ri-​ˌsi-​də-​ˈvis-​tik How to pronounce recidivist (audio) \ adjective

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