Definition of recursive in English:



  • 1Characterized by recurrence or repetition.

    ‘The community's crisis of violence is reflected in a recursive narrative pattern, shaped out of repetitions and returns of the repressed memories of white violence in slavery.’
    • ‘Every mystery is contained inside another one like a Russian doll but one where each shell is the same size as the last, a recursive puzzle.’
    • ‘What I am saying is that it is inherently recursive (it operates on the products of its own operation).’
    • ‘For people such as us, who are obsessed with the recursive nature of signs, it is like a series of mirrors reflecting each other into a distorted infinitude of mixed interpretations and intentions.’
    • ‘This may well be true, but it's somewhat recursive: value investing (like efficient markets) only works as long as a lot of people don't think it works.’
    • ‘Society was looking at itself too much already, was caught in recursive loops, and could more or less do this blindfolded.’
    • ‘So perhaps the solution lies in some recursive synthesis of the two - if change is sexier/more useable/better, then maybe it'll meet less resistance.’
    • ‘In other words, the recursive action of fictional analysis reconstructs and reconfigures the power of the word through learning about text.’
    • ‘Somehow this is clever, because it's recursive.’
    • ‘And if you had a universe-sized computer, it could run all kinds of recursive worlds; it could, for instance, simulate an entire galaxy.’
    • ‘The end goal is that comments about a story enrich that story and that the process is recursive i.e. comments can be about comments, eventually providing an ecology of news.’
    • ‘Here is the recursive bit that really caught my interest.’
    • ‘It is, unfortunately, a recursive game, providing opportunities for learning from past mistakes.’
    • ‘Liberals want to change the third variable, but this is somewhat recursive.’
    • ‘Attempting to cure poverty by increasing the minimum wage is thus somewhat recursive.’
    • ‘Politically negotiated opinions, informed and uninformed, expert and otherwise, are important factors in the recursive social policy process of analysis, formation and implementation.’
    1. 1.1Mathematics Linguistics Relating to or involving the repeated application of a rule, definition, or procedure to successive results.
      ‘this restriction ensures that the grammar is recursive’
      • ‘He studied consistency of arithmetic, proving that formal arithmetic with recursive definitions is consistent.’
      • ‘She published papers on mathematical logic, recursive function theory, and theoretical computer science.’
      • ‘Kleene's research was on the theory of algorithms and recursive functions.’
      • ‘A class of mathematical problems is called recursive if there is an algorithm for finding the answer in each individual case.’
      • ‘It's hard for me to believe that any creature could develop anything much like human language without at least some limited form of recursive compositionality.’
    2. 1.2Computing Relating to or involving a program or routine of which a part requires the application of the whole, so that its explicit interpretation requires in general many successive executions.
      ‘a recursive subroutine’
      • ‘With the latest security holes, the programs are vulnerable only when acting as recursive name servers.’
      • ‘An expression could invoke recursive functions or entire subprograms, for example.’
      • ‘It also prevents device driver writers from having to handle recursive interrupts, which complicate programming.’
      • ‘Providing recursive queries to arbitrary IP addresses on the internet exposes a name server to both cache poisoning and denial of service attacks.’
      • ‘A recursive function is one that calls itself, often over and over again.’



/rəˈkərsiv/ /rəˈkərsɪv/


Late 18th century (in the general sense): from late Latin recurs- ‘returned’ (from the verb recurrere ‘run back’) + -ive. Specific uses have arisen in the 20th century.