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From Late Latin recapitulatus, past participle of recapitulare (to go over the main points of a thing again), from Latin re- (again) + capitulum (a head, main part, chapter); see capitulate.



recapitulate (third-person singular simple present recapitulates, present participle recapitulating, simple past and past participle recapitulated)

  1. To summarize or repeat in concise form.
    The entire symphony was recapitulated in the last four bars.
  2. (biology, of an organism) During an individual's development, to pass through stages corresponding to the species' stages of evolutionary development.
    • 1997, G. A. Bray, "Growth of a Molecular Base for Feeding," Obesity Research, vol. 5, no. 3 (May), p. 272:
      Similarly this concept of unity provided a powerful impetus for embryological studies and the idea that fetal development recapitulates the steps of phylogenetic development.


  • (to summarize or repeat in concise form): recap, sum up

Derived termsEdit


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