• synonyms


  1. of late occurrence, appearance, or origin; lately happening, done, made, etc.: recent events; a recent trip.
  2. not long past: in recent years.
  3. of or belonging to a time not long past.
  4. (initial capital letter) Geology. noting or pertaining to the present epoch, originating at the end of the glacial period, about 10,000 years ago, and forming the latter half of the Quaternary Period; Holocene.
Show More
  1. Also called Holocene. (initial capital letter) Geology. the Recent Epoch or Series.
Show More

Origin of recent

1525–35; < Latin recent- (stem of recēns) fresh, new
Related formsre·cen·cy, re·cent·ness, nounre·cent·ly, adverbqua·si-re·cent, adjectivequa·si-re·cent·ly, adverb


1. fresh, new. See modern.


1. early, old.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for recency

Historical Examples

  • For owing to their recency the knowledge of them still remains distinct.

    The Histories of Polybius, Vol. I (of 2)


  • This is the natural consequence of recency of settlement and rapid increase.

  • Can the law of effect be interpreted as an instance of the sub-law of recency?


    Robert S. Woodworth

  • Japanese work has been severely criticized, but the recency of the introduction of the cotton industry must not be forgotten.

  • We may thus represent to the eye the recency of man's appearance, so far as at present known to science.

British Dictionary definitions for recency


  1. having appeared, happened, or been made not long ago; modern, fresh, or new
Show More
Derived Formsrecently, adverbrecentness or recency, noun

Word Origin

C16: from Latin recens fresh; related to Greek kainos new


adjective, noun
  1. geology another word for Holocene
Show More
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

Word Origin and History for recency



early 15c., from Latin recentem (nominative recens) "lately done or made, new, fresh, young," from re- (see re-) + PIE root *ken- "fresh, new, young" (cf. Greek kainos "new;" Sanskrit kanina- "young;" Old Irish cetu- "first;" Old Church Slavonic načino "to begin," koni "beginning"). Related: Recently; recentness (1670s, but OED reports recency (1610s) was "Common in 19th c.").

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

recency in Science


  1. See Holocene.
Show More
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.