re·​cur·​sive | \ ri-ˈkər-siv How to pronounce recursive (audio) \

Definition of recursive

1 : of, relating to, or involving recursion a recursive function in a computer program
2 : of, relating to, or constituting a procedure that can repeat itself indefinitely a recursive rule in a grammar

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Other Words from recursive

recursively adverb
recursiveness noun

Examples of recursive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Interestingly, the brilliant mathematician Kurt Gödel, who was fascinated by recursive ideas, had similar concerns about the Constitution’s resiliency. Noam Cohen, Wired, "The TV Show ‘Survivor’ Can Help Us Understand Impeachment," 17 Dec. 2019 Twitter is a medium that is much looser, casual, more profane, and also more recursive, more dialogic. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "How Chris Hayes Makes Sense of the “World-Historical Cataclysm”," 10 May 2020 Though history is recursive, there are moments when the previously unthinkable becomes thinkable. Shannon Pufahl, The New York Review of Books, "Numbering the Dead," 21 Apr. 2020 As a result, the kernel got stuck in a recursive loop until the system finally crashed. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, "Solved: Why in-the-wild Bluekeep exploits are causing patched machines to crash," 11 Nov. 2019 The team behind Zcash discovered a recursive method to verify private transactions at scale. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "What China could gain from a digital yuan," 19 Sep. 2019 Gidney expects that his method will work for adapting many classical recursive algorithms to quantum computers. Quanta Magazine, "A New Approach to Multiplication Opens the Door to Better Quantum Computers," 24 Apr. 2019 The script's backdoor code, as Wardle noted, is a recursive Python command-line call with a hard-coded IP address for the connection that uses port 1337—an obvious leetspeak joke. Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "Really dumb malware targets cryptocurrency fans using Macs," 3 July 2018 The most thrilling thing about An Homage to Hollis Benton is its recursive nature. Andrea Alonso, Los Angeles Magazine, "Fact and Fiction Collide Inside an Exhibit Inspired by a “Forgotten” L.A. Legend—and Beverly Hills Cop," 12 June 2018

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

1934, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for recursive

earlier, "recurring repeatedly," from Latin recursus, past participle of recurrere "to run back, run in the opposite direction, return" + -ive; in given senses as translation of German rekurrent or rekursiv — more at recur

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Time Traveler for recursive

Time Traveler

The first known use of recursive was in 1934

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Statistics for recursive

Last Updated

14 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Recursive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on recursive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with recursive

Britannica English: Translation of recursive for Arabic Speakers

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