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 In contrast, some Northern California campuses rely on recruitment from outside their regions to bolster enrollments, and the cost of living as well as recurrent wildfires have hurt them in recent years. Nina Agrawal, Los Angeles Times, "Cal State schools see enrollments surge during COVID-19 pandemic," 10 Nov. 2020 The robot is guided by an AI system known as recurrent neural networks. Sarah L. Kaufman, Washington Post, "Artist Sougwen Chung wanted collaborators. So she designed and built her own AI robots.," 5 Nov. 2020 An elderly or unhealthy host in the face of large, recurrent exposures is clearly the worst case scenario. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, "The 'dose' of coronavirus a person gets may determine how sick they get; masks could help," 1 Nov. 2020 Chaotic fistfights became recurrent events downtown. Luke Mogelson, The New Yorker, "In the Streets with Antifa," 25 Oct. 2020 The Texas prison system’s mission was to end the type of recurrent incarceration that Floyd experienced by rehabilitating inmates and returning them to society with skills that would help them live law-abiding lives. Washington Post, "Communities and companies made money off George Floyd’s imprisonment. Inside, Floyd withered.," 19 Oct. 2020 Strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Heart Association, which also says nearly 795,000 people each year suffer a new or recurrent stroke. Dallas News, "Mesquite hospital gets top marks for treatment of stroke patients," 15 Oct. 2020 Centered, as usual, on Eddie’s recurrent melodic licks, the song takes flight when the rhythm section joins in. chicagotribune.com, "Remembering Eddie Van Halen: His 20 greatest performances," 7 Oct. 2020 Over the past 15 years of Kyrgyzstan’s recurrent political strife, two of its presidents have been toppled in violent revolts. Ivan Nechepurenko, New York Times, "Kyrgyzstan in Chaos After Protesters Seize Government Buildings," 6 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for recurrent

Time Traveler

The first known use of recurrent was in 1578

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Statistics for recurrent

Last Updated

14 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Recurrent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/recurrent. Accessed 23 Nov. 2020.

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More Definitions for recurrent

recurrent

adjective
How to pronounce recurrent (audio)

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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