Definition of recidivism:
- a tendency to relapse into a previous condition or mode of behavior
- especially: relapse into criminal behavior
Did you know?
The re- in recidivism is the same re- in relapse and return, and like those words recidivism is about going back: it’s a tendency to relapse, especially into criminal behavior.
Recidivism is a 19th-century French borrowing that’s ultimately from a Latin word meaning “to relapse into sin or crime.”
In borrowing recidivism, English was itself engaging in a kind of recidivism: the same Latin source of recidivism had been nabbed in the 16th century to form the much less common recidivate, meaning “to fall into or exhibit recidivism.”
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