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Recurring vs. Reoccurring (Correct Usage, + Examples)

Recurring or reoccurring?

Did you have a recurring or reoccurring dream? If you’re finding the difference between these two words befuddling, then this post is for you.

How to use recurring vs. reoccurring

Recurring and reoccurring are present participle forms of the verbs recur and reoccur. Both words are synonyms therefore are are close in meaning.

The difference is that when something occurs on a recurring basis, this means its occurs regularly, though not unceasingly or without interruption.

Something that is reoccurring, on the other hand, may have happened one or more times in the past or present, but is not repeated, or doesn’t occur regularly. In practice and speech, they’re fairly interchangeable with each other.

“Recurring” / “reoccurring”, used in sentences

Examples: “recurring”, used in sentences
This conversation’s beginning to resemble one of those old-fashioned ballads with a recurring chorus.

She sits here every day after coming home from Luke’s, like déjà vu or a recurring dream. Scarlett Thomas GOING OUT (2002)

There is only a slight chance that the disease will recur.

The same problem keeps recurring.
Examples: “reoccurring”, used in sentences
As with the most successful podcasts, there were reoccurring themes and story arcs. Times, Sunday Times (2017)

The defense team took measures to prevent such accidents from reoccurring.

The arthritis attacks are sudden and temporary.

While they sometimes reoccur, they do not seem to leave permanent damage.—U.S. News & World Report

The multinational firm has been under scrutiny ever since to ensure such incidents don’t reoccur.—Debra Utacia Krol, The Arizona Republic, 31 May 2023

Recurring/reoccurring, synonyms

  • persist
  • reappear
  • iterate
  • recrudesce
  • reiterate
  • repeat
  • return
  • revert

Word origin (of recurring/reoccurring)

Late 14c., recuren, “to recover from illness or suffering” (a sense now obsolete); mid-15c., “to return” (to or into a place), from Latin recurrere “to return, run back, hasten back,” figuratively “revert, recur“.

Read about other misused words

Commonly misused wordsUK English vs. US English
former vs. latterburned or burnt?
bear with vs. bare withcolor or colour?
breathe or breathfavorite vs. favourite
compliment vs. complementsmelled or smelt?
effect vs. affectgray or grey?
elude or alludefavor vs. favour
it’s or itsanalyze or analyse?


  1. Oxford Learner’s Dictionary on “recurring” and “reoccurring”. Accessed 13 April, 2024.
  2. Harper, Douglas. “Etymology of well.” Online Etymology Dictionary, Accessed13 April, 2024.

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