from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun The repeating of or returning to criminal behavior by the same offender or type of offender.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Relapse into crime; the conduct or condition of a recidivist.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Criminology) The state or quality of being recidivous; relapse

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Committing new offenses after being punished for a crime.
  • noun psychology, psychiatry Chronic repetition of criminal or other antisocial behavior.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun habitual relapse into crime


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From recidivist, one who recidivates, from French récidiviste, from récidiver, to relapse, from Medieval Latin recidīvāre, from Latin recidīvus, falling back, from recidere, to fall back : re-, re- + cadere, to fall; see kad- in Indo-European roots.]


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  • repeated or habitual relapse, as into crime.

    March 18, 2009