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

Keep scrolling for more

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 And the supply of testing materials has been a recurrent problem, though the White House consistently says there are ample tests. Amy Goldstein, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump administration vows to distribute 100 million swabs to states by year’s end," 24 May 2020 Ann Herlocher's daughter, Abby, needed ear tubes due to recurrent ear infections. David Hogberg, Washington Examiner, "Elective surgery moratorium takes toll on patients," 14 May 2020 Other worker advocates pointed to Tesla’s record of flouting federal labor law through anti-union activities and allegedly recurrent worker safety problems at the Fremont plant. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Does Elon Musk need California more than California needs Elon Musk?," 11 May 2020 But in some cases, an atypical uterus can cause pain or recurrent miscarriages. Katherine Hobson, New York Times, "Know Your Uterus," 18 Apr. 2020 Little is simple or easy at this high-profile, quasi-public agency that boasts a booming $1.2 billion in annual ticket sales, but hasn’t recovered fully from three years of recurrent controversies, management shakeups and other internal problems. Jon Lender, courant.com, "Jon Lender: Lottery’s survey finds distrust by some employees who view agency as 'secretive’ or 'North Korea-like’," 7 June 2019 Furthermore, men have more current and recurrent songs than women, by a margin of 52.5 percent and 58.4 percent, respectively. Harley Brown, Billboard, "Study Finds 'Alarming' Gender Representation on Country Radio," 26 Apr. 2019 Patients with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes, which typically emerge in the first few years of life, can suffer from debilitating and recurrent seizures, sometimes dozens a day. Andrew Joseph, STAT, "FDA approves country’s first medicine made from marijuana," 25 June 2018 Any of these factors, combined with the impact of climate change on natural disasters and biodiversity loss, contribute to increasing the risk of recurrent health emergencies in these urban centers. Tolu Oni, Quartz Africa, "This is the best time to plan for urban Africa’s next health emergency," 16 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about recurrent

Time Traveler for recurrent

Time Traveler

The first known use of recurrent was in 1578

See more words from the same year

Statistics for recurrent

Last Updated

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Recurrent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/recurrent. Accessed 2 Jun. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on recurrent

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

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

May 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a blooming wisteria tree
  • Which is a synonym of exiguous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!