Definition of recessive in English:

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Pronunciation: /rɪˈsɛsɪv/


1 Genetics Relating to or denoting heritable characteristics controlled by genes which are expressed in offspring only when inherited from both parents. Often contrasted with dominant.
Example sentences
  • Self-pollination in these strains was found to be controlled by duplicate, recessive genes.
  • It would operate like inbreeding, which increases the odds of offspring inheriting the same deleterious recessive allele from both parents.
  • On occasion, families are observed where both parents have a recessive single gene disorder and yet have normal offspring.
2Undergoing an economic recession: the recessive housing market
More example sentences
  • The real growth was 1.6% in a recessive global economic climate.
  • In a transition period, however, this may lead to a recessive pressure on the economy.
  • In order to stimulate a recessive economy and pay for the cost of escalating welfare programs, Congress will add to the national debt.
3 Phonetics (Of the stress on a word or phrase) tending to fall on the first syllable: recessive stress is characteristic of British English
More example sentences
  • In modern English all the disyllabic and trisyllabic words have only recessive stress, e.g. colour, marriage.
4 Linguistics Tending to fall into disuse: this variant was a low-status and recessive feature
More example sentences
  • The older system is understood to be recessive.
  • They have the largest number of recessive features of all West African languages.


A recessive trait or gene.
Example sentences
  • Instead selection causes the same increase in allele frequency in both dominants and recessives, at least early on when the fates of nearly all alleles are determined.
  • Thus deleterious recessives had not been eliminated from the population to the extent that consanguineous matings were harmless in terms of offspring viability.
  • But regardless of why most incompatibilities act as recessives, the present results leave little doubt that they do.



Example sentences
  • Female carriers of X-linked recessively inherited disorders can often be identified by some outward expression of the disorder.
  • A line of briard dogs has been identified that is affected by an autosomal recessively inherited retinal disease resulting in severe, early onset visual impairment.
  • The most common one in the United Kingdom is Friedreich's ataxia, which is inherited recessively, often coming into a family out of the blue when two carrier parents have a child who develops ataxia symptoms.


Example sentences
  • Mendel's peas were used to demonstrate this recessiveness - in two generations I have to admit.
  • To test for recessiveness or dominance of the mutations, each mutant was crossed with a strain of the opposite mating type, either Y090 or Y091.
  • I don't think that anything is known yet about the number, position, dominance, co-dominance or recessiveness of genes for behavior.


Example sentences
  • Moreover, Y-linked mutations do not encounter the problem of recessivity or sexual antagonism, and thus any advantageous mutation has a much better chance of becoming fixed in the population than the autosomal or X-linked ones have.
  • Their work showed that ‘…the recessivity of mutants is an inevitable consequence of kinetic properties of enzyme-catalyzed pathways and that no other explanation is required’.
  • They suggest that ‘In fact, if mutant recessivity were not general, it would throw considerable doubt on the whole of enzymology and the study of intermediary metabolism.’


Late 17th century: from recess, on the pattern of excessive.

Words that rhyme with recessive

aggressive, compressive, concessive, degressive, depressive, digressive, excessive, expressive, impressive, obsessive, oppressive, possessive, progressive, regressive, repressive, retrogressive, successive, transgressive

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: re|ces¦sive

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