From Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to navigation Jump to search


Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English receiven, from Old French receivre, from Latin recipere (take back, accept, etc.), from re- (back) + capiō (to take); see capacious. Compare conceive, deceive, perceive. Displaced native Middle English terms in -fon/-fangen (e.g. afon, anfon, afangen, underfangen, etc. "to receive" from Old English -fōn), native Middle English thiggen (to receive) (from Old English þiċġan), and non-native Middle English aquilen, enquilen (to receive) (from Old French aquillir, encueillir).


  • IPA(key): /ɹɪˈsiːv/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːv
  • Hyphenation: re‧ceive


receive (third-person singular simple present receives, present participle receiving, simple past and past participle received)

  1. To take, as something that is offered, given, committed, sent, paid, etc.; to accept; to be given something.
    She received many presents for her birthday.
    • c. 1604–1605 (date written), William Shakespeare, “All’s Well, that Ends Well”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act II, scene i], page 235, column 1:
      Our hearts receiue your warnings.
    • 1689, John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding:
      The idea of solidity we receive by our touch.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, 1 Kings 8:64, column 1:
      [T]he braſen Altar that was before the Lord was too little to receiue the burnt offerings, and meat offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings.
    • 1873, Thomas Wimberley Mossman, quoting Pope Clement I (in translation), “The Genuine and Supposititious Writings of St. Clement”, in A History of the Catholic Church of Jesus Christ: From the Death of Saint John to the Middle of the Second Century: [], London: Longmans, Green, and Co., →OCLC, page 58:
      And afterwards Thou [God] receivedst Seth and Enoch, and Enoch Thou translatedst; for Thou art the Creator of men, the Fountain of Life, the Supplier of Want, the Giver of Laws, the Rewarder of them that keep them, the Avenger of them that transgress them.
    • 1918, W[illiam] B[abington] Maxwell, chapter XXXIX, in The Mirror and the Lamp, Indianapolis, Ind.: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, →OCLC, page 305:
      Nothing was too small to receive attention, if a supervising eye could suggest improvements likely to conduce to the common welfare. Mr. Gordon Burnage, for instance, personally visited dust-bins and back premises, accompanied by a sort of village bailiff, going his round like a commanding officer doing billets.
    • 2013 May 25, “No hiding place”, in The Economist[1], volume 407, number 8837, London: Economist Group, →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 24 May 2013, page 74:
      In America alone, people spent $170 billion on "direct marketing"—junk mail of both the physical and electronic varieties—last year. Yet of those who received unsolicited adverts through the post, only 3% bought anything as a result.
  2. (law) To take goods knowing them to be stolen.
  3. To act as a host for guests; to give admittance to; to permit to enter, as into one's house, presence, company, etc.
    to receive a lodger, visitor, ambassador, messenger, etc.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Acts 28:2, column 1:
      And the barbarous people ſhewed vs no little kindneſſe: for they kindled a fire, and receiued us euery one becauſe of the preſent raine, and becauſe of the cold.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, “The Select Circle”, in The Ivory Gate [], New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], →OCLC, page 46:
      In former days every tavern of repute kept such a room for the select circle—a club, or society, of habitués, who met every evening for a pipe and a cheerful glass. [...] Strangers might enter the room, but they were made to feel that they were there on sufferance; they were received with distance and suspicion.
  4. To incur (an injury).
    I received a bloody nose from the collision.
    • 1804, Robert Wissett, On the Cultivation and Preparation of Hemp:
      But because this is oftentimes dangerous, and much hurt hath been received thereby through casualty of fire, I advise the sticking four stakes into the earth, at least five feet above the ground [...]
  5. To allow (a custom, tradition, etc.); to give credence or acceptance to.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Mark 7:3–4, column 2:
      For the Phariſes and all the Jewes, except they waſh their hands oft, eate not, holding the tradition of the elders. And when they come from the market, except they waſh, they eate not. And many other things there be, which they have receiued to hold, as the waſhing of cups and pots, braſen veſſels, and of tables.
  6. (telecommunications) To detect a signal from a transmitter.
  7. (sports) To be in a position to take possession, or hit back the ball.
    1. (tennis, badminton, squash) To be in a position to hit back a service.
    2. (American football) To be in a position to catch a forward pass.
  8. (transitive, intransitive) To accept into the mind; to understand.

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.


receive (plural receives)

  1. (telecommunications) An operation in which data is received.
    • 1992, Tara M. Madhyastha, A Portable System for Data Sonification, page 71:
      In the sonification of the PDE code, notes are scattered throughout a wide pitch range, and sends and receives are relatively balanced; although in the beginning of the application there are bursts of sends []

Further reading[edit]