Reoccur and recur are verbs that share a common root word. While they are very close in meaning, they are not the same. Something that is recurring happens over and over again, possibly at regular intervals. In contrast, something that is reoccurring is simply happening again but not always repeatedly.
More about the difference between recur and reoccur
To understand the difference between recurring and reoccurring, we need to start with the base forms—recur and reoccur.
Recur means to happen repeatedly or after an interval. This verb comes from the Latin word recurrere, “to run back.” Here’s how it looks when used in a sentence:
Reoccur comes from the prefix re- and the verb occur. The prefix re- means “again” and occur means “to happen.” So, reoccur simply means “to happen again.” In a sentence, it would be used like this:
The difference between the two verbs is very slight—an event that reoccurs is an event that repeats at least one time, but not necessarily more than that. An event that recurs is an event that repeats many times.
Examples of recurring and reoccurring
Adding -ing to recur and reoccur gives you recurring and reoccurring—the words that started this discussion. Recurring is more common than reoccurring.