• synonyms


[ri-kur-zhuh n]
noun Mathematics, Computers.
  1. the process of defining a function or calculating a number by the repeated application of an algorithm.
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Origin of recursion

1925–30; < Late Latin recursiōn- (stem of recursiō) a running back, equivalent to recurs(us) (see recourse) + -iōn- -ion
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for recursion


  1. the act or process of returning or running back
  2. logic maths the application of a function to its own values to generate an infinite sequence of values. The recursion formula or clause of a definition specifies the progression from one term to the next, as given the base clause f (0) = 0, f (n + 1) = f (n) + 3 specifies the successive terms of the sequence f (n) = 3 n
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Derived Formsrecursive, adjective

Word Origin for recursion

C17: from Latin recursio, from recurrere recur
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 recursion


1610s, from Latin recursionem (nominative recursio) "a running backward, return," noun of action from past participle stem of recurrere "run back" (see recur).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper