recurrent

adjective
re·​cur·​rent | \ri-ˈkər-ənt, -ˈkə-rənt\

Definition of recurrent 

1 : running or turning back in a direction opposite to a former course used of various nerves and branches of vessels in the arms and legs

2 : returning or happening time after time recurrent complaints

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Other Words from recurrent

recurrently adverb

Recurrent vs. Recurring

Is there a difference between recurring and recurrent? As is so often the case with nearly identical words, the answer is "yes and no." Both words are most commonly used in the sense "happening time after time." But recurrent, the more commonly-used of the two, tends to appear more often in medical contexts, as in “recurrent fevers” or “recurrent cancer.” It also has a specialized anatomical sense, "running or turning back in a direction opposite to a former course,” as in “a recurrent artery,” that recurring does not share. There are certainly circumstances in which either recurrent or recurring could be used; pain or needs might be described as either recurrent or recurring. But even in such cases, there may be subtle differences which you may wish to pay attention to. Recurrent tends to suggest a coming back of something that has existed before, whereas recurring often implies simply a repeated occurrence.

Examples of recurrent in a Sentence

The loss of innocence is a recurrent theme in his stories. had recurrent problems with the computer for months and finally junked it

Recent Examples on the Web

Available as oral medications or intravenous infusions, both forms of bisphosphonates have been shown to reduce fracture risk, prevent recurrent hip fractures, and reduce the risk of death after hip fractures. Farah Naz Khan, Vox, "Doctors are blasé about bone health and it’s leading to more broken bones in the elderly," 30 July 2018 Kislyak was called off last August amid scrutiny of his recurrent meetings with the Trump campaign staff as Special Counsel Mueller’s probe into the possible Russian meddling was gaining speed. Washington Post, "Russia’s ex-US envoy: Trump wants better ties with Russia," 25 May 2018 Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera said Wednesday, March 7, 2018, that intentional sabotage may be contributing to recurrent water shortages that have caused protests on the streets of the city of 9 million people. Washington Post, "Mexico City: Water cutoffs in capital worsened by sabotage," 7 Mar. 2018 Medical specialists worry that aside from physical ailments, the boys could experience anxiety, panic attacks, recurrent nightmares, phobias or other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in the short or long term. New York Times, "Soccer Players and Their Coach Are on the Mend, Thailand Says," 11 July 2018 The security and defense forum will probably be a recurrent element of China-Africa relations — and also a potential launchpad for China’s defense relations to regions beyond Africa. Lina Benabdallah, Washington Post, "China-Africa military ties have deepened. Here are 4 things to know.," 6 July 2018 Medical specialists worry that aside from physical ailments, the boys could experience anxiety, panic attacks, recurrent nightmares, phobias, or other symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in the short or long term. Navaon Siradapuvadol And Mike Ives, BostonGlobe.com, "Soccer Players and Their Coach Are on the Mend, Thailand Says," 12 July 2018 The action comes against a backdrop of recurrent school shootings, everyday street violence in the nation’s inner cities, and rising U.S. suicide rates. Washington Post, "Frustrated AMA adopts sweeping policies to cut gun violence," 13 June 2018 But in a recent piece on women and true crime, Cammila Collar finds canny parallels between the recurrent subjects of true crime (love-gone-wrong, family conflict, domestic violence) and the hard numbers on gender and violence. Megan Abbott, latimes.com, "Why do we — women in particular — love true crime books?," 14 June 2018

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

1578, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for recurrent

borrowed from Latin recurrent-, recurrens, present participle of recurrere "to run back, run in the opposite direction, return" — more at recur

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Statistics for recurrent

Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for recurrent

The first known use of recurrent was in 1578

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More Definitions for recurrent

recurrent

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of recurrent

: happening or appearing again and again

recurrent

adjective
re·​cur·​rent | \ri-ˈkər-ənt \

Kids Definition of recurrent

: happening or appearing again and again a recurrent infection

recurrent

adjective
re·​cur·​rent | \-ˈkər-ənt, -ˈkə-rənt \

Medical Definition of recurrent 

1 : running or turning back in a direction opposite to a former course used of various nerves and branches of vessels in the arms and legs

2 : returning or happening time after time recurrent pain

Other Words from recurrent

recurrently adverb

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Comments on recurrent

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