recursion

Recursion is the process of repeating items in a self-similar way. For instance, when the surfaces of two mirrors are exactly parallel with each other the nested images that occur are a form of infinite recursion. The term has a variety of meanings specific to a variety of disciplines ranging from linguistics to logic. The most common application of recursion is in mathematics and computer science, in which it refers to a method of defining functions in which the function being defined is applied within its own definition; specifically it is defining an infinite statement using finite components. The term is also used more generally to describe a process of repeating objects in a self-similar way.

from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recursion