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[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
Related forms
recidivist, noun, adjective
recidivistic, recidivous, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for recidivism
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • In time we have come to realize that our punitive methods not only do not tend to do away with recidivism, but enhance it.

  • Every psychologist will tell you that past violent behaviour is the best predictor of future recidivism.

    After the Rain Sam Vaknin
  • 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
  • Their recidivism is not due to an inability to distinguish between right and wrong.

  • The foregoing cases, while distinctly abnormal mentally, owe their recidivism to a qualitative rather than a quantitative defect.

British Dictionary definitions for recidivism


habitual relapse into crime
Derived Forms
recidivist, noun, adjective
recidivistic, 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
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Word Origin and History for recidivism

"habit of relapsing" (into crime), 1882, from recidivist + -ism, modeled on French récidivisme, from récidiver.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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recidivism in Medicine

recidivism re·cid·i·vism (rĭ-sĭd'ə-vĭz'əm)

  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. Also called recidivation.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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