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

Other Words from recursive

recursively adverb
recursiveness noun

Examples of recursive in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web These attractors look different for different systems, but often take the form of recursive, fractal shapes. Sarah Wells, Popular Mechanics, 22 Sep. 2022 But getting there wended viewers through television that was frustratingly recursive, holding the show and its talent effectively in stasis (with June inching towards freedom, then getting slapped back) for years. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 8 Sep. 2022 There is something bleakly recursive in watching as these stories are sold, and sold, and sold again. Molly Fischer, The New Yorker, 13 June 2022 That is a mind-bending form of recursive thinking, for sure. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 1 June 2022 Use your mouse to lift any one of those new shapes, then move it onto another grid for the sake of a recursive formula application. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 22 Apr. 2022 His recursive vocal tics seem to mirror the roundabout symmetry of the viral dances featured in his videos. Will Dukes, Rolling Stone, 11 Apr. 2022 The film contains recursive layers of art imitating life, with Kopernikus’s own son, Louis Nӕss-Schmidt, playing the young Jørn and Kopernikus playing Nicolaj, a version of himself. Nicolaj Kopernikus, The New Yorker, 27 Jan. 2022 The motifs—cascading green code, simulation theory, white rabbits—remain the same, a recursive loop that, while not new, plays a familiar melody. Angela Watercutter, Wired, 22 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

1 Oct 2022

Cite this Entry

“Recursive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Oct. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on recursive

Britannica English: Translation of recursive for Arabic Speakers


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