[ kyoo-myuh-luh-tiv, -ley-tiv ]
/ ˈkyu myə lə tɪv, -ˌleɪ tɪv /


increasing or growing by accumulation or successive additions: the cumulative effect of one rejection after another.
formed by or resulting from accumulation or the addition of successive parts or elements.
of or relating to interest or dividends that, if not paid when due, become a prior claim for payment in the future: cumulative preferred stocks.

Origin of cumulative

First recorded in 1595–1605; cumulate + -ive


cu·mu·la·tive·ly, adverbcu·mu·la·tive·ness, nounun·cu·mu·la·tive, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for cumulative

British Dictionary definitions for cumulative

/ (ˈkjuːmjʊlətɪv) /


growing in quantity, strength, or effect by successive additions or gradual stepscumulative pollution
gained by or resulting from a gradual building upcumulative benefits
  1. (of preference shares) entitling the holder to receive any arrears of dividend before any dividend is distributed to ordinary shareholders
  2. (of dividends or interest) intended to be accumulated if not paid when due
  1. (of a frequency) including all values of a variable either below or above a specified value
  2. (of error) tending to increase as the sample size is increased

Derived forms of cumulative

cumulatively, adverbcumulativeness, noun
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

Medical definitions for cumulative

[ kyōōmyə-lā′tĭv, -lə-tĭv ]


Increasing or enlarging by successive addition.
Acquired by or resulting from accumulation.
Of or relating to the sum of the frequencies of experimentally determined values of a random variable that are less than or equal to a specified value.
Of or relating to experimental error that increases in magnitude with each successive measurement.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.