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  • IPA(key): /ˈɹɛkən/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛkən

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English rekenen, from Old English recenian (to pay; arrange, dispose, reckon) and ġerecenian (to explain, recount, relate); both from Proto-West Germanic *rekanōn (to count, explain), from Proto-West Germanic *rekan (swift, ready, prompt), from Proto-Indo-European *h₃reǵ- (to make straight or right).

Cognate with Scots rekkin (to enumerate, mention, narrate, rehearse, count, calculate, compute), Saterland Frisian reekenje (to calculate, figure, reckon), West Frisian rekkenje (to account, tally, calculate, figure), Dutch rekenen (to count, calculate, reckon), German Low German reken (to reckon), German rechnen (to count, reckon, calculate), Swedish räkna (to count, calculate, reckon), Icelandic reikna (to calculate), Latin rectus (straight, right). See also reck, reach.

Alternative forms[edit]


reckon (third-person singular simple present reckons, present participle reckoning, simple past and past participle reckoned)

  1. To count; to enumerate; to number; also, to compute; to calculate.
  2. To count as in a number, rank, or series; to estimate by rank or quality; to place by estimation; to account; to esteem; to repute.
  3. To charge, attribute, or adjudge to one, as having a certain quality or value.
  4. (colloquial) To conclude, as by an enumeration and balancing of chances; hence, to think; to suppose; -- followed by an objective clause
    I reckon he won't try that again.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Romans 8:18:
      For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Romans 6:11:
      Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin.
    • 1962 October, Brian Haresnape, “Focus on B.R. passenger stations”, in Modern Railways, page 250:
      The working life span of a passenger carriage, on average, is between 30 and 35 years, so a steady replacement takes place quite naturally. The life span of a station, however, cannot be so easily reckoned, for it depends largely on the rehabilitation and upkeep of the existing structures.
  5. To reckon with something or somebody or not, i.e to reckon without something or somebody: to take into account, deal with, consider or not, i.e. to misjudge, ignore, not take into account, not deal with, not consider or fail to consider; e.g. reckon without one's host
    • 1907, Robert W. Service, The Spell of the Yukon:
      There are hardships that nobody reckons;
      There are valleys unpeopled and still;
      There’s a land—oh, it beckons and beckons,
      And I want to go back—and I will.
  6. (intransitive) To make an enumeration or computation; to engage in numbering or computing.
  7. To come to an accounting; to draw up or settle accounts; to examine and strike the balance of debt and credit; to adjust relations of desert or penalty.
Derived terms[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Etymology 2[edit]


reckon (plural reckons)

  1. (dialectal) Alternative form of rackan (chain)

See also[edit]