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  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.
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  1. Also called Holocene. (initial capital letter) Geology. the Recent Epoch or Series.
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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


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1. fresh, new. See modern.


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

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British Dictionary definitions for recent


  1. having appeared, happened, or been made not long ago; modern, fresh, or new
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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
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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 recent


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.").

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

recent in Science


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