• synonyms


[ri-sid-uh-viz-uh m]
See more synonyms for recidivism on Thesaurus.com
  1. repeated or habitual relapse, as into crime.
  2. Psychiatry. the chronic tendency toward repetition of criminal or antisocial behavior patterns.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for recidivism

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • 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


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

Word Origin

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

recidivism in Medicine


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