The Meaning of Iterative: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of iterative? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word iterative, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word iterative mean?

According to Your Dictionary, Collins English Dictionary, the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language 12th edition and the opinion of Merriam-Webster, the word iterative is an adjective that means repetitive, repetitious, repeating, repeated, or frequentative. This term can be used in computing to refer to a procedure, cycle of operations, repetition of a process, computational procedure, cycle of a set of instructions, maths logic, or mechanism such as a loop that does the same action more than once (or for a single iteration) for a specified number of times to achieve a desired result or outcome. The outcome of each iteration may lead to the starting point of the next iteration or it may create the final specific result or end value/end point. This repetition of an action or repetition of steps is in large part used in mathematics to create a desired outcome.

There are numerous different languages that contain words meaning iterative. In looking at this list of translations of iterative from Word Sense, you may notice that some of these words look and sound a lot like the word iterative. These are called cognates, which are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin.  You can also find translations in a Spanish Dictionary fifth edition, Italian Dictionary 1st edition, German Dictionary unabridged 7th edition, or another dictionary of unfamiliar words with an advanced search option.

  •  French: itératif‎
  •  Catalan: iteratiu‎
  •  Spanish: iterativo‎
  •  Russian: итерати́вный‎ (itɛratívnyj)
  •  Japanese: イテレーティブ‎, 繰り返し型の‎ (kurikaeshi-gata no)
  •  Polish: iteracyjny‎
  •  Italian: iterativo‎
  •  Finnish: toistuva‎
  •  Swedish: Iterativ‎
  •  Portuguese: iterativo‎

What is the origin of the word iterative?

According to Etymonline, the current usage of the word iterative has been used since the 15th century and comes from the French iteratif, Late Latin iterativus, and past participle stem of Latin iterare and the Latin iterat.

How can the word iterative be used in a sentence?

The word iterative can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definitions. You can also try making a quiz or flashcards for yourself to test your knowledge of different definitions. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! Below are a few examples of iterative to get you started.

Various online news sources published an iterative ad in their June and July issues that created a puzzle for the reader. This development process was created by the clever marketing students at Princeton University.

The effectiveness of the new algorithm was so high because the programmers did iterative development in clever ways. The software followed a set of instructions with a specific frequency, and the computer science technicians were able to create a faster sorting system for image recognition than their initial guesses. While there is not a single final answer for the fastest algorithm, the one they created could combat adversarial attacks. 

In the latest iteration of a popular app, users are given the option to register as a business or an individual at different price points. 

What are synonyms and antonyms of iterative?

In the English language, there are many different words that a person could use in place of the word iterative. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same definition as another given word or phrase. These are very useful in expanding your vocabulary and helping you avoid repeating yourself. This list of synonyms of iterative is provided by Power Thesaurus and Roget’s Thesaurus Unabridged 8th edition.

  •  refinement
  •  adaption
  •   iteration
  •  emphatic
  •  monotonous
  •  insistent
  •  circular
  •  above-said
  •  aforenamed
  •  repeating
  •  frequentative
  •  aspect
  •  recapitulatory
  •  countless
  •  repetitive
  •  ongoing
  •  frequent
  •  cyclic
  •  iteratively
  •  harping
  •  exacting
  •  cyclical
  •  reiterative
  •  flagrant
  •  recurring
  •  tautologous
  •  expletive
  •  echoic
  •  recur
  •  boring
  •  gratuitous
  •  windy
  •  incessant
  •  multi-step
  •  iterant
  •  recapitulative
  •  dull
  •  familiar
  •  reduplicative
  •  iterating
  •  episodic
  •  duplicative
  •  recurrent
  •  prolix
  •  perpetual
  •  importunate
  •  regular
  •  chiming
  •  normal
  •  seasonal
  •  clamant
  •  repeated
  •  repeat
  •  periodic
  •  allege
  •  replicate
  •  above-mentioned
  •  humdrum
  •  iterative aspect
  •  oft-repeated
  •  long-winded
  •  repetition
  •  deck
  •  battological
  •  everyday
  •  unvarying
  •  repetitionary
  •  unvaried
  •  verbose
  •  alliterative
  •  blatant
  •  routine
  •  recursive
  •  common
  •  customary
  •  usual
  •  reechoing
  •  repetitious
  •  parrotlike
  •  repetitional
  •  duplicate
  •  continual
  •  another
  •  intermittent
  •  gross
  •  habitual
  •  iterate
  •  redundant
  •  ceaseless
  •  egregious
  •  reiterant
  •  innumerable
  •  clamorous
  •  exigent
  •  persistent
  •  constant
  •  tautological
  •  imitative
  •  continuous
  •  echoing
  •  continuing
  •  typical

There are also many different words that mean the opposite of the word iterative. These opposite words are called antonyms, which are another great way to work on expanding your English vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word iterative is also provided by Power Thesaurus.

  •  discontinuous
  •  stray
  •  orderless
  •  lucky-dog
  •  not habitual
  •  disconnected
  •  blindness
  •  lucky
  •  spasmodic
  •  scattershot
  •  sporadic
  •  arbitrary
  •  flukey
  •  disorganized
  •  at random
  •  unforeseen
  •  randomized
  •  contingent
  •  accidentally
  •  hit and miss
  •  odd
  •  irregular
  •  fluke
  •  intermittent
  •  wild
  •  aimless
  •  indiscriminate
  •  unpredictable
  •  incidentally
  •  unintentional
  •  unsystematic
  •  by-the-way
  •  serendipitous
  •  isolated
  •  periodic
  •  inadvertent
  •  careless
  •  randomly
  •  infrequent
  •  promiscuous
  •  incidental
  •  anyhow
  •  case
  •  chancy
  •  adventitious
  •  spot
  •  fortuitous
  •  unplanned
  •  coincidental
  •  aleatory
  •  designless
  •  hit-and-miss
  •  fluctuating
  •  unorganized
  •  causeless
  •  randomness
  •  chance
  •  patchy
  •  fluky
  •  luck in
  •  uncalculated
  •  motiveless
  •  haphazardly
  •  disorderly
  •  blind
  •  indiscriminately
  •  stochastic
  •  unintended
  •  unselective
  •  undirected
  •  undiscriminating
  •  capricious
  •  accident
  •  irrational
  •  haphazard
  •  accidental
  •  confused
  •  helter-skelter
  •  disordered
  •  unpremeditated
  •  desultory
  •  hit or miss
  •  chaotic
  •  unmethodical
  •  casual
  •  erratic
  •  objectless
  •  occasional
  •  wanton
  •  fitful
  •  arbitrarily
  •  unforeseeable
  •  directionless
  •  uncertain
  •  unexpected
  •  purposeless
  •  goalless
  •  hit-or-miss
  •  by chance
  •  nonspecific

Overall, the word iterative means a repetition of the process or a single execution of a set of instructions for a given number of times to get a specified result. This word is Latin in origin and has been used since late 15c.


  1. Iterative Meaning | Best 5 Definitions of Iterative | Your Dictionary 
  2. iterative: meaning, translation, synonyms | Word Sense 
  3. iterative | Origin and meaning of iterative | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  4. Iterative synonyms – 174 Words and Phrases for Iterative | Power Thesaurus 
  5. Iterative antonyms – 26 Opposites of Iterative | Power Thesaurus