re·​cur | \ ri-ˈkər How to pronounce recur (audio) \
recurred; recurring

Definition of recur

intransitive verb

1 : to have recourse : resort
2 : to go back in thought or discourse on recurring to my letters of that date— Thomas Jefferson
3a : to come up again for consideration
b : to come again to mind
4 : to occur again after an interval : occur time after time the cancer recurred

Examples of recur in a Sentence

There is only a slight chance that the disease will recur. The same problem keeps recurring.
Recent Examples on the Web In one segment during the show, Lopez played a lovestruck version of herself falling for Pete Davidson‘s recurring character, Chad, the clumsy PA on Lopez’s tour. Eric Todisco,, "Jennifer Lopez Receives Surprise Visit from Alex Rodriguez in Hilarious Saturday Night Live Skit," 8 Dec. 2019 His only commitment to the genre is to divert from its essence with cute asides, such as the title song by neo-folkie Sturgill Simpson, a recurring motif that divides characters through their musical taste. Armond White, National Review, "The Dead Don’t Die: Climate-Change Comedy for the Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez Era," 14 June 2019 Harris’ prosecutorial past has been a recurring motif in her presidential run. Melanie Mason,, "Kamala Harris defends her record as prosecutor: ‘It matters who is in those rooms’," 8 June 2019 The man on a horse, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and commanding the landscape, was a recurring motif in Afrikaner nationalist imagery. Kainaz Amaria, Vox, "National Geographic’s November cover falls back on a racist cliché," 1 Nov. 2018 Photo: Howardena Pindell/Garth Greenan Gallery, New York Ms. Pindell, now age 75, says the recurring motif of the circle, connecting much of her art, goes back to a childhood memory. James Panero, WSJ, "Seeing Her Worldview in a Circle," 1 Sep. 2018 So there’s a feeling of difference among the stories but also of closeness (recurring themes, a common tone, a progression that is also indicated by the months in the stories’ titles). Deborah Treisman, The New Yorker, "Emilio Fraia on Stories Within Stories," 9 Dec. 2019 Pattern, design and ornamentation have always been recurring themes in her artwork and are a driving force behind new every creation., "Community News For The Farmington Valley Edition," 28 Oct. 2019 Offensive failures have become a recurring theme for the Giants in the month of August, but so have struggles for young starting pitchers. Kerry Crowley, The Mercury News, "Giants swept by Nationals, open pivotal homestand with wasted opportunity," 7 Aug. 2019

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

circa 1512, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for recur

borrowed from Latin recurrere "to run back, return, have recourse (to)," from re- re- + currere "to run" — more at current entry 1

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Time Traveler for recur

Time Traveler

The first known use of recur was circa 1512

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Statistics for recur

Last Updated

22 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Recur.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 23 January 2020.

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More Definitions for recur


How to pronounce recur (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of recur

: to happen or appear again : to occur again


re·​cur | \ ri-ˈkər How to pronounce recur (audio) \
recurred; recurring

Kids Definition of recur

: to occur or appear again The fever recurred.
re·​cur | \ ri-ˈkər How to pronounce recur (audio) \
recurred; recurring

Medical Definition of recur

: to occur again after an interval a disease likely to recur

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More from Merriam-Webster on recur

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for recur

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with recur

Spanish Central: Translation of recur

Nglish: Translation of recur for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of recur for Arabic Speakers

Comments on recur

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


out of the ordinary or unreasonable

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