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Alternative formsEdit


From Middle English receiven, from Old French receivre, from Latin recipiō, past participle receptus (to take back, get back, regain, recover, take to oneself, admit, accept, receive, take in, assume, allow, etc.), from re- (back) + capio (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 þicgan), and non-native Middle English aquilen, enquilen (to receive) (from Old French aquillir, encueillir).


  • IPA(key): /ɹɪˈsiːv/
  • (file)
  • (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.
    • (Can we date this quote?) William Shakespeare
      Our hearts receive your warnings.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Locke
      The idea of solidity we receive by our touch.
    • Bible, 1 Kings viii.64:
      The brazen altar that was before the Lord was too little to receive the burnt offerings.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 19, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      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, volume 407, number 8837, 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.
    • Bible, Acts xxviii.2:
      They kindled a fire, and received us every one.
    • 1892, Walter Besant, chapter III, in The Ivory Gate: A Novel, New York, N.Y.: Harper & Brothers, [], OCLC 16832619:
      In former days every tavern of repute kept such a room for its own 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.
    • Bible, Mark vii.4:
      Many other things there be which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots.
  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 (sport)) 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 termsEdit

  • RX (abbreviation)

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. 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 readingEdit