re·​ca·​pit·​u·​late | \ ˌrē-kə-ˈpi-chə-ˌlāt How to pronounce recapitulate (audio) \
recapitulated; recapitulating; recapitulates

Definition of recapitulate

transitive verb

1 : to retell or restate briefly : summarize recapitulate the main points of an argument He is best when commenting on the words of others; he is worst when attempting to recapitulate the history of sports or boxing.— Arthur Krystal To recapitulate the ten presidential elections since 1952 does not in itself advance our understanding of the huge changes taking place in American political behavior.— Bernard A. Weisberger
2 : to give new form or expression to With massive, forbidding bulwarks, crenellated parapets, watchtowers buttressing the corners of the walls, his notion of a prison recapitulated the forms of medieval fear and paranoia.— John Edgar Wideman
3a : to repeat the principal stages or phases of (a process, such as a biological process) This chapter dwells on the recurring theme that carcinogenesis recapitulates embryogenesis …— Shi-Ming Tu
b : to reproduce or closely resemble (as in structure or function) … the animal model should recapitulate if not the entire human disease phenotype, then at least the key attributes under study.— Thomas A. Milne The field of tissue engineering aims to recapitulate native tissue function toward replacing damaged or diseased tissues and organs.— Jennifer K. Lee et al.

intransitive verb

: to make or be able to make a summary : sum up To recapitulate, at the center of a black hole … there resides a singularity: a region in which time no longer exists …— Kip S. Thorne

Did you know?

Capitulation originally meant the organizing of material under headings. So recapitulation usually involves the gathering of the main ideas in a brief summary. But a recapitulation may be a complete restatement as well. In many pieces of classical music, the recapitulation, or recap, is the long final section of a movement, where the earlier music is restated in the main key.

Examples of recapitulate in a Sentence

To recapitulate what was said earlier, we need to develop new ways to gain customers. We understood your point, there's no need to recapitulate.
Recent Examples on the Web But a major limitation of the study is that it was performed in mice, which do not adequately recapitulate all aspects of TB or COVID in humans. Anuradha Varanasi, Forbes, 26 Mar. 2022 But that adoration eventually limits the work’s scope, forcing it to recapitulate a handful of themes to get us to the credits. Lovia Gyarkye, The Hollywood Reporter, 12 Mar. 2022 The failure to do so will simply recapitulate the myriad mistakes of past. Damon Linker, The Week, 25 June 2021 The virologist theorized that each of these women may have mounted a particularly potent killer T-cell response to the virus — an immunological full-court press that researchers could possibly one day recapitulate therapeutically. Benjamin Ryan, NBC News, 15 Nov. 2021 The whole point of immunization is to recapitulate infection in a safer, more palatable package, like a driver’s ed simulation, or a practice quiz handed out in advance of a final exam. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 16 Sep. 2021 Over the past year, Libyans have been riveted by an atrocity that seemed to recapitulate all the worst aspects of the Qaddafi era. New York Times, 30 July 2021 On the one extreme is Elevian’s reductionist approach, which attempts to recapitulate the benefits of young blood through supplementation with a single pro-youthful factor. Elie Dolgin, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 May 2021 As varied as the styles and messages of these projects are, many recapitulate the passage from shock to hope. Justin Davidson, Curbed, 15 Mar. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'recapitulate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of recapitulate

1556, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for recapitulate

Late Latin recapitulatus, past participle of recapitulare to restate by heads, sum up, from Latin re- + capitulum division of a book — more at chapter

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The first known use of recapitulate was in 1556

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Cite this Entry

“Recapitulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of recapitulate for Spanish Speakers


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