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Latin reciprocus, possibly from a phrase such as reque proque (back and forth, to and fro), from re- (back), prō (forwards) and -que (and).


  • IPA(key): /ɹɪˈsɪpɹək(ə)l/
  • (file)


reciprocal (not comparable)

  1. Of a feeling, action or such: mutual, uniformly felt or done by each party towards the other or others; two-way.
    reciprocal love; reciprocal duties
  2. Mutually interchangeable.
    • 1725, Isaac Watts, Logick, or The Right Use of Reason in the Enquiry After Truth With a Variety of Rules to Guard:
      These two rules will render a definition reciprocal with the thing defined.
  3. (grammar) expressing mutual action, applied to pronouns and verbs; also in a broad sense: reflexive
  4. (mathematics) Used to denote different kinds of mutual relation; often with reference to the substitution of reciprocals for given quantities.
    The reciprocal of a number is the number you would have to multiply it by to get the answer 1.
  5. Done, given, felt, or owed in return
    a reciprocal invitation to lunch


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reciprocal (plural reciprocals)

  1. (arithmetic) The number obtained by dividing 1 by another given number; the result of exchanging the numerator and the denominator of a fraction.
    0.5 is the reciprocal of 2.
  2. (grammar) A construction expressing mutual action.
    • 2008, Ekkehard König, Volker Gast, Reciprocals and Reflexives: Theoretical and Typological Explorations
      Depending on where reciprocalization applies (syntax vs. lexicon), the relevant reciprocal verbs are claimed to exhibit specific properties, in particular: (i) syntactic reciprocals are fully productive whereas lexical reciprocals have only limited productivity; []