Word of the Day

Saturday, October 25, 2003


\rih-SID-uh-viz-uhm\ , noun;
A tendency to lapse into a previous condition or pattern of behavior; especially, a falling back or relapse into prior criminal habits.
Mr. Atrens's basic argument is that it's physiologically almost impossible for many people to lose weight, as evidenced by a high recidivism rate and the unflagging profitability of diet paraphernalia, from liquid concoctions to surgeons' staples.
-- Karen Stabiner, review of Don't Diet, by Dale M. Atrens, New York Times, March 27, 1988
I was engaged in a major research project that involved twenty-six countries, studying how to prevent recidivism in juvenile delinquents released from prison.
-- Peggy Claude-Pierre, The Secret Language of Eating Disorders
According to the best available estimates, the . . . program has reduced the recidivism rate among participants to roughly half that of the general prison population in the state.
-- James McQueeny, "And a Prison Helps Out, Too", New York Times, February 7, 1982
Recidivism derives from Latin recidivus, "falling back," from recidere, "to fall back," from re-, "back" + cadere, "to fall." One who relapses or who is an incorrigible criminal is a recidivist.
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