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

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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 The Biggest Loser study didn’t just recapitulate this disheartening rule of thumb, however. Daniel Engber, Scientific American, "Unexpected Clues Emerge About Why Diets Fail," 13 Jan. 2020 And their concerns are related: Trump’s ability to recapitulate or expand his winning coalition depends in large part on the identity of his opponent. Matthew Continetti, National Review, "The Reserve Army of the GOP," 2 Nov. 2019 Those ripe, quiet seconds, with their intimation of Shange’s presence through art, recapitulated a theme that had been building all night, and which is intrinsic to this ecstatic new production, directed by Leah C. Gardiner. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, "An Ecstatic Revival of Ntozake Shange’s “for colored girls”," 28 Oct. 2019 The authors of the new paper, a team led by Sarah Miller of the University of Michigan’s business school, recapitulate the sorry history of Medicaid expansion. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: New data show that failing to expand Medicaid has led to 16,000 unnecessary deaths," 22 July 2019 But longevity allowed him a career in almost perfect sonata form, with a final period that recapitulated some of the joy of the first without ever trying to evade what had come between. Douglas Murray, National Review, "Michael Tippett’s ‘Timeless Music in Time’," 11 July 2019 The comic version is much more red and gold, recapitulating Iron Man's colorways, but both served as visual and narrative reminders of ties between the two characters. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "Spider-Man Is Back ... But Why All Dressed in Black?," 3 July 2019 Those organisms can regrow entire limbs — bone, muscle, cartilage and all — by recapitulating a developmental program from a bud-like structure that forms on the injury site. Quanta Magazine, "To Heal Some Wounds, Adult Cells Turn More Fetal," 29 Aug. 2018 In the outer layer, many of the behaviors ended up recapitulating strategies used by human players. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Quake III Arena is the latest game to see AI top humans," 30 May 2019

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.

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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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Time Traveler for recapitulate

Time Traveler

The first known use of recapitulate was in 1556

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Cite this Entry

“Recapitulate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for recapitulate


How to pronounce recapitulate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of recapitulate

formal : to give a brief summary of something

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for recapitulate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with recapitulate

Spanish Central: Translation of recapitulate

Nglish: Translation of recapitulate for Spanish Speakers

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