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[ri-kur-zhuh n] /rɪˈkɜr ʒən/
noun, Mathematics, Computers.
the process of defining a function or calculating a number by the repeated application of an algorithm.
Origin of recursion
1925-30; < Late Latin recursiōn- (stem of recursiō) a running back, equivalent to recurs(us) (see recourse) + -iōn- -ion Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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British Dictionary definitions for recursion


the act or process of returning or running back
(logic, maths) the application of a function to its own values to generate an infinite sequence of values. The recursion formula or clause of a definition specifies the progression from one term to the next, as given the base clause f(0) = 0, f(n + 1) = f(n) + 3 specifies the successive terms of the sequence f(n) = 3n
Derived Forms
recursive, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin recursio, from recurrererecur
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for recursion

1610s, from Latin recursionem (nominative recursio) "a running backward, return," noun of action from past participle stem of recurrere "run back" (see recur).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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recursion in Technology

mathematics, programming
When a function (or procedure) calls itself. Such a function is called "recursive". If the call is via one or more other functions then this group of functions are called "mutually recursive".
If a function will always call itself, however it is called, then it will never terminate. Usually however, it first performs some test on its arguments to check for a "base case" - a condition under which it can return a value without calling itself.
The canonical example of a recursive function is factorial:
factorial 0 = 1 factorial n = n * factorial (n-1)
Functional programming languages rely heavily on recursion, using it where a procedural language would use iteration.
See also recursion, recursive definition, tail recursion.
[Jargon File]

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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