Is there a single word to describe the occurrence of a pattern more than once?

This word exists in a file more than once.

According to an online Czech–* dictionary, these would be the equivalents in other languages:

  • mehrmals in German
  • многократно in Russian
  • aliquotiens in Latin
  • kilkakrotnie in Polish
  • několikrát or víckrát in Czech
  • If the translations you gave are correct, why didn't you check the English translation? All of the words above mean the same thing, with no subtle differences that I could tell. Is there something about an English translation that you didn't feel was right? Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 4:30
  • Checking the English translation was the first thing I did of course, however in the dictionaries that were available to me, translations were not as terse as I needed them to be: "more than once", "multiple times", "a few times", "several times". I believe that is the purpose of questions tagged with "single-word-requests" category. Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 4:34
  • 2
    Bear in mind that, in English, repeatedly is subtly different from more than once. Twice is not repeatedly to most ears, for example. Bit twice is more than once. Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 4:39
  • 1
    @CanisLupus Speak for yourself; 'twice' classifies as 'repeatedly' to me. Though 'repeatedly' does not always classify as 'twice'.
    – TylerH
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 17:15
  • 2
    Watch your capitalization: german is an elaborate round dance, polish is something you apply to nails, shoes, or cars, and english is the spin you put on a ball in billiards. Languages are always capitalized.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 19:58

6 Answers 6


I would go with repeatedly.

The word exists in a file repeatedly.

  • 7
    +1 Though twice is not repeatedly. There's much difference.
    – Kris
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 5:02
  • 1
    @Kris +1. Repeatedly definitely does not indicate twice. Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 7:20
  • 1
    I think it's still technically legal to use "multiply," pronouncing the 'y' same as in "repeatedly." Or you could go with the ugly "nonuniquely." aaack, should have reloaded to see this was already provided in an answer. Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 14:15
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    @TylerH please provide a reference to a definition that allows for twice to be included in repeatedly. Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 22:24
  • 1
    @GreenAsJade Simply type it into Google and you will be provided with a valid definition.
    – TylerH
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 2:49

Think about where you want to use the expression. If the context is somewhat technical, you can use:

There are multiple occurrences of this word in the file.

If not, there are several other words/expressions you could use:

  • frequently
  • often
  • regularly
  • a number of times
  • recurrently
  • I needed to name 2 oposing functions, so I was looking for something as terse as possible. Like line_exists vs line_exists_repeatedly - so yes, repeatedly from Aelexe's answer does the job! Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 4:22
  • 5
    I think recurrently is better fitting that repeatedly.
    – dwjohnston
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 5:46
  • 1
    Since you want to make two opposing functions you might want to call the first one line_exists_once since you want to check whether it exists once but not twice or multiple times/repeatedly.
    – mayrs
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 13:36
  • repeatedly is the idiomatic choice. There are multiple recurrences of the word, using a word such as recurrently is unnecessary.
    – Ian Lewis
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 11:29

In Patent law, you would say a plurality when meaning more than one. This is used instead of "several", "multiple" and removes ambiguity in the document.

  • Patent law is not a good guide to English usage. For example you cannot make multiple claims in a single statement, discouraging the use of or such as in phases like "It uses fluorine, chlorine or bromine". The patent lawyers then rewrite this as "It uses one of fluorine, chlorine and bromine" thereby undermining both the legal rule on multiple claims and the standard use of English.
    – Henry
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 7:14

If you want to avoid the problem that "repeatedly" does not cover "twice", you could use "multiply", which is the adverb form of "multiple". It has been in use since 1881, according to Merriam-Webster (definition 2):

" in a multiple manner"

There is a downside, of course, that it is is spelt the same as the verb "multiply", although it is pronounced differently. Hence, your example would be

line_exists and line_exists_multiply

  • In the case where the word was used twice it is likely one would simply say 'twice'. Multiply suffers the same awkwardness as recurrently.
    – Ian Lewis
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 11:31

Since the question asks for a word defining the condition "more than once", perhaps "non-uniquely" would fit the bill.

"This word exists in a file non-uniquely."


Consider switching the syntax to "This word reoccurs." "This word reappears" also seems better for as few as 2 appearances.

I read that recur means at regular intervals, whereas reoccur does not require regular intervals (see http://grammarist.com/usage/recur-reoccur/). So, reoccur is better than recur for your purpose here.

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