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verb, re·ceive \ri-ˈsēv\

Simple Definition of receive

  • : to get or be given (something)

  • : to react to (something) in a specified way

  • : to welcome (someone) in usually a formal way

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of receive


  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to come into possession of :  acquire <receive a gift>

  3. 2 a :  to act as a receptacle or container for <the cistern receives water from the roof> b :  to assimilate through the mind or senses <receive new ideas>

  4. 3 a :  to permit to enter :  admit b :  welcome, greet c :  to react to in a specified manner

  5. 4 :  to accept as authoritative, true, or accurate :  believe

  6. 5 a :  to support the weight or pressure of :  bear b :  to take (a mark or impression) from the weight of something <some clay receives clear impressions> c :  acquire, experience <received his early schooling at home> d :  to suffer the hurt or injury of <received a broken nose>

  7. intransitive verb
  8. 1 :  to be a recipient

  9. 2 :  to be at home to visitors <receives on Tuesdays>

  10. 3 :  to convert incoming radio waves into perceptible signals

  11. 4 :  to prepare to take possession of the ball from a kick in football

Examples of receive in a sentence

  1. George, white-gloved, with a gardenia in his buttonhole, stood with his mother and the Major, embowered in the big red and gold drawing room downstairs, to “receive” the guests; and, standing thus together, the trio offered a picturesque example of good looks persistent through three generations. —Booth Tarkington, The Magnificent Ambersons, 1918

  2. From this time the astronomer was received into familiar friendship, and partook of all their projects and pleasures: his respect kept him attentive, and the activity of Rasselas did not leave much time unengaged. —Samuel Johnson, Rasselas, 1759

  3. … his stark and devastating description of Vichy collaborationism (which he based on German and American archives) was rather badly received in France … —Stanley Hoffmann, New York Times Book Review, 1 Nov. 1981

  4. You will be charged a late fee if the electric company does not receive your payment on time.

  5. I received a letter from her yesterday.

  6. You will receive a discount if you spend over $100.

  7. She received the news of his death with remarkable calmness.

Origin of receive

Middle English, from Anglo-French receivre, from Latin recipere, from re- + capere to take — more at heave

First Known Use: 14th century

RECEIVE Defined for Kids


verb re·ceive \ri-ˈsēv\

Definition of receive for Students


  1. 1 :  to take or get something that is given, paid, or sent <Did you receive the money I sent?>

  2. 2 :  2experience <Stone Fox refused to speak with the white man because of the treatment his people had received. — John Reynolds Gardiner, Stone Fox>

  3. 3 :  to accept as a visitor or member :  welcome <She's too ill to receive friends.>

  4. 4 :  to change incoming radio waves into sounds or pictures

Seen and Heard

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the range of perception or understanding

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