lying down; reclining; leaning.
inactive; idle.
Zoology, Botany. noting a part that leans or reposes upon its surface of origin.


a recumbent person, animal, plant, etc.

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 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for recumbent

Historical Examples of recumbent

  • As he approached the recumbent figure he yelled a panted "Hi, there!"

    The Woman-Haters

    Joseph C. Lincoln

  • "Truss him up, Kenneth," he commanded, pointing to the recumbent figure.

    The Tavern Knight

    Rafael Sabatini

  • The repulsive task of searching the recumbent figure now lay before him.

    The Vagrant Duke

    George Gibbs

  • My eyes, accustomed to obscurity, traced an indistinct and recumbent form.


    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • The recumbent figure in bed seemed to have actually succumbed to sleep.

British Dictionary definitions for recumbent



lying down; reclining
(of a part or organ) leaning or resting against another organ or the grounda recumbent stem
(of a fold in a rock formation) in which the axial plane is nearly horizontal
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 recumbent

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

recumbent in Medicine




Lying down, especially in a position of comfort; reclining.
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.