Definition of recurrent in US English:



  • 1Occurring often or repeatedly.

    ‘she had a recurrent dream about falling’
    • ‘As a child I had a recurrent dream about being swallowed by a snake.’
    • ‘It's been much more common to see history as cyclical or recurrent.’
    • ‘I croaked, woken from my recurrent dream of loading reams of information onto the computer, by a banshee wail that went on and on, somewhere in the very near vicinity.’
    • ‘He refers to her suffering from frequent and recurrent nightmares precipitated by abuse.’
    • ‘Severe social and economic problems caused recurrent unrest and frequent changes of government.’
    • ‘Well I suppose a lot of people have a recurrent dream.’
    • ‘I think you should try some kind interpretation of the recurrent images in your dreams (psychoanalysis, tarot, etc).’
    • ‘She has a recurrent character in her dream - a man with smoldering eyes who sees through her soul - that makes her wake happy.’
    • ‘The disorder is thus characterised by involuntary, persistent remembering or reliving the traumatic event in flashbacks, vivid memories, and recurrent dreams.’
    • ‘To this day, I still have recurrent dreams of the Corryvreckan, in which I find myself descending a watery spiral staircase to hell.’
    • ‘Patterns are recurrent, regular attributes of world phenomena or abstract examples.’
    • ‘A few million local men had just been awakened from their recurrent football dream and you could hear it.’
    • ‘Moreover, their posting to Britain was normally only one step in a career that will have taken them to many parts of the empire, including recurrent periods in the imperial capital or with the emperor.’
    • ‘In a recurrent dream, repeated hundreds of times, she saw herself walking on a narrow bridge toward the Golden City.’
    • ‘Its not a recurrent dream but I think it has some significance.’
    • ‘The regularity of spring rains is being replaced by recurrent three- and four-year droughts.’
    • ‘The onset is often sudden, random and frequently recurrent.’
    • ‘The royal dynasty he founded proved remarkably durable, surviving recurrent periods of minority rule in the 15th and 16th cents.’
    • ‘She has a remarkable likeness to an unknown figure who appears in his recurrent dreams, a fact that Paul takes as some sort of omen.’
    • ‘The recurrent problems continue unchecked under his stewardship, and he has not taken the lead in response to other disasters that befall the city.’
    repeated, recurring, repetitive, reiterative, periodic, happening at intervals, cyclical, cyclic, seasonal, perennial, regular, habitual, chronic, continual, frequent
    View synonyms
  • 2Anatomy
    (of a nerve or blood vessel) turning back so as to reverse direction.

    • ‘Risks of parathyroid surgery include permanent hypoparathyroidism and damage to the recurrent laryngeal nerve.’
    • ‘The right lobe of the thyroid was massively infiltrated with tumor that had encased the right recurrent laryngeal nerve.’
    • ‘The recurrent laryngeal nerve runs immediately behind branches of the inferior thyroid artery so care was taken to avoid damage to this structure.’
    • ‘It is imperative that the needle be positioned correctly so the recurrent laryngeal and phrenic nerves are not infiltrated with medication.’
    • ‘The right recurrent laryngeal nerve usually passes around and behind the subclavian artery and then ascends to enter the larynx.’


Late 16th century (in recurrent (sense 2)): from Latin recurrent- ‘running back’, from the verb recurrere (see recur).