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  1. lying down; reclining; leaning.
  2. inactive; idle.
  3. Zoology, Botany. noting a part that leans or reposes upon its surface of origin.
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  1. a recumbent person, animal, plant, etc.
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Origin of recumbent

1765–75; < Latin recumbent- (stem of recumbēns), present participle of recumbere to lie back, equivalent to re- re- + cumb-, akin to cubāre to lie down + -ent- -ent
Related formsre·cum·ben·cy, re·cum·bence, nounre·cum·bent·ly, adverbun·re·cum·bent, adjectiveun·re·cum·bent·ly, adverb

Synonyms for recumbent

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

Related Words for recumbency

decubitus, reclination, recumbency

Examples from the Web for recumbency

Historical Examples of recumbency

  • The standing position is not often maintained, the patient seeking relief in recumbency.

    Special Report on Diseases of the Horse

    United States Department of Agriculture

  • Some writers state that it may be produced by confining an animal in recumbency, with the casting harness.

    Lameness of the Horse

    John Victor Lacroix

British Dictionary definitions for recumbency


  1. lying down; reclining
  2. (of a part or organ) leaning or resting against another organ or the grounda recumbent stem
  3. (of a fold in a rock formation) in which the axial plane is nearly horizontal
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Derived Formsrecumbence or recumbency, nounrecumbently, adverb

Word Origin for recumbent

C17: from Latin recumbere to lie back, from re- + cumbere to lie
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 recumbency



1705, from Latin recumbentem (nominative recumbens), present participle of recumbere "recline, lie down, lie down again;" of things, "to fall, sink down, settle down," from re- "back" (see re-) + -cumbere "to lie down" (see succumb). Related: Recumbency (1640s). A verb, recumb, has been attempted in English occasionally since 1670s.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

recumbency in Medicine


  1. Lying down, especially in a position of comfort; reclining.
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Related formsre•cumbence null n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.