[ri-sid-uh-viz-uh m]


repeated or habitual relapse, as into crime.
Psychiatry. the chronic tendency toward repetition of criminal or antisocial behavior patterns.

Origin of recidivism

1885–90; < Latin recidīv(us) relapsing (recid(ere) to fall back (re- re- + -cidere, combining form of cadere to fall) + -īvus -ive) + -ism
Related formsre·cid·i·vist, noun, adjectivere·cid·i·vis·tic, re·cid·i·vous, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for recidivism

Contemporary Examples of recidivism

Historical Examples of recidivism

  • Every psychologist will tell you that past violent behaviour is the best predictor of future recidivism.

    After the Rain

    Sam Vaknin

  • The foregoing cases, while distinctly abnormal mentally, owe their recidivism to a qualitative rather than a quantitative defect.

  • Their recidivism is not due to an inability to distinguish between right and wrong.

  • In time we have come to realize that our punitive methods not only do not tend to do away with recidivism, but enhance it.

  • Some part of the recidivism here is undoubtedly due to the kind of occupations which a child can carry on while attending school.

    Child Labor in City Streets

    Edward Nicholas Clopper

British Dictionary definitions for recidivism



habitual relapse into crime
Derived Formsrecidivist, noun, adjectiverecidivistic or recidivous, adjective

Word Origin for recidivism

C19: from Latin recidīvus falling back, from re- + cadere to fall
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 recidivism

"habit of relapsing" (into crime), 1882, from recidivist + -ism, modeled on French récidivisme, from récidiver.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

recidivism in Medicine




A tendency to lapse into a previous pattern of behavior, especially a pattern of criminal habits.
The relapse of a disease or symptom.recidivation
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.