[ ri-sid-uh-viz-uh m ]
/ rɪˈsɪd əˌvɪz əm /


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


re·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 recidivist

  • But the keeping of recidivist records is only one part of the business of the Criminal Record Office.

    Scotland Yard|George Dilnot
  • The consequence is that he falls away and rejoins his old companions and soon becomes a recidivist.

    A Plea for the Criminal|James Leslie Allan Kayll

British Dictionary definitions for recidivist

/ (rɪˈsɪdɪˌvɪzəm) /


habitual relapse into crime

Derived forms of recidivism

recidivist, 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

Medical definitions for recidivist (1 of 2)

[ rĭ-sĭdə-vĭst ]


A person who relapses, especially by returning to criminal behavior.

Medical definitions for recidivist (2 of 2)

[ rĭ-sĭdə-vĭz′əm ]


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.