[ kyoo-myuh-luh-tiv, -ley-tiv ]
See synonyms for cumulative on
  1. increasing or growing by accumulation or successive additions: the cumulative effect of one rejection after another.

  2. formed by or resulting from accumulation or the addition of successive parts or elements.

  1. 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.

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Origin of cumulative

First recorded in 1595–1605; cumulate + -ive

Other words from cumulative

  • cu·mu·la·tive·ly, adverb
  • cu·mu·la·tive·ness, noun
  • un·cu·mu·la·tive, adjective

Words Nearby cumulative Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use cumulative in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for cumulative


/ (ˈkjuːmjʊlətɪv) /

  1. growing in quantity, strength, or effect by successive additions or gradual steps: cumulative pollution

  2. gained by or resulting from a gradual building up: cumulative benefits

  1. finance

    • (of preference shares) entitling the holder to receive any arrears of dividend before any dividend is distributed to ordinary shareholders

    • (of dividends or interest) intended to be accumulated if not paid when due

  2. statistics

    • (of a frequency) including all values of a variable either below or above a specified value

    • (of error) tending to increase as the sample size is increased

Derived forms of cumulative

  • cumulatively, adverb
  • cumulativeness, 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