Word of the Day : June 2, 2012


noun rih-SID-uh-viz-um


: a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior; especially : relapse into criminal behavior

Did You Know?

"Recidivism" means literally "a falling back" and usually implies "into bad habits." It comes from the Latin word "recidivus," which means "recurring." "Recidivus" itself came from the Latin verb "recidere," which is a composite of the prefix "re-" and the verb "cadere" (meaning "to fall") and means "to fall back." "Recidivists" tend to relapse, or "fall back," into old habits and particularly crime. "Deciduous" and "incident" are two other English words that have roots in "cadere." "Deciduous" comes from the verb "decidere" ("de-" plus "cadere"), which means "to fall off." And "incident" comes from "incidere" ("in" plus "cadere"), which means "to fall into."


The judge took the rate of recidivism into account when assigning penalties for various criminal offenses.

"The Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations has proposed a $65,000 study of housing problems faced by ex-offenders, an issue repeatedly raised last year during its community meetings on housing discrimination. Lack of jobs and housing has been tied to high recidivism rates across the nation." - From an article by Joe Smydo in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, May 2, 2012

Word Family Quiz

What relative of "recidivism" can refer to a falling inflection of the voice? The answer is ...


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