recurrent

adjective
re·​cur·​rent | \ ri-ˈkər-ənt How to pronounce recurrent (audio) , -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

The landlocked country is also suffering from the effects of climate crisis, with land degradation, soil erosion, deforestation, and recurrent droughts and flooding exacerbated by agriculture. Helen Regan, CNN, "Ethiopia plants more than 350 million trees in 12 hours," 30 July 2019 Fittingly, one of the recurrent themes of Last Witnesses is how war mangles the experience of childhood, turning what were once toys (airplanes, horses) into engines of terror and pets into food. Jennifer Wilson, The New Republic, "Svetlana Alexievich’s Child’s-Eye View," 22 July 2019 Religion, very broadly defined, is a recurrent concern of this book. Christian Wiman, WSJ, "‘A Primer for Forgetting’ Review: The Past Need Not Be Prologue," 21 June 2019 Mass demonstrations calling for government reforms and democracy have been a recurrent sight this summer in Hong Kong, with hundreds of thousands of people marching through the city each weekend. Anna Coren, CNN, "Hong Kong protesters take to the streets in seventh week of mass marches," 21 July 2019 The announcement comes amid recurrent warnings by U.S. officials that adversaries and competitors – including Russia, China and Iran – are likely to attempt to interfere in the 2020 presidential elections. Olivia Gazis, CBS News, "Intel chief Dan Coats creates new role to coordinate election security efforts," 19 July 2019 But throughout his career, Real became known for recurrent reversals by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Dorany Pineda, latimes.com, "Manuel L. Real, judge who helped desegregate Southern California schools, dies at 95," 1 July 2019 In a separate trial, Kura is testing the drug in patients with recurrent or metastatic head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Kura Oncology reports lymphoma success with cancer drug," 17 June 2019 The form of depression, also known as SAD, is a recurrent major depressive disorder that involves episodes of depression at the same season each year. Maya Mcdowell, House Beautiful, "8 Ways to Feel Happier at Home When Winter’s Bringing You Down," 15 Feb. 2019

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

7 Aug 2019

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 How to pronounce recurrent (audio) \

Kids Definition of recurrent

: happening or appearing again and again a recurrent infection

recurrent

adjective
re·​cur·​rent | \ -ˈkər-ənt, -ˈkə-rənt How to pronounce recurrent (audio) \

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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