re·​ca·​pit·​u·​la·​tion ˌrē-kə-ˌpi-chə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce recapitulation (audio)
: a concise summary
: the hypothetical occurrence in an individual organism's development of successive stages resembling the series of ancestral types from which it has descended so that the ontogeny of the individual retraces the phylogeny of its group
: the third section of a sonata form

Example Sentences

will begin his presentation with a recapitulation of the research done on the disease up to this point
Recent Examples on the Web This seems to be a recapitulation of the Lee Siegel's attack on the internet from a few years back. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 1 Feb. 2012 Before the movement’s closing recapitulation of those themes, the players give us a spine-tingling moment. New York Times, 23 June 2022 Compared with the recapitulation of these notes around the two-hour, nine-minute mark, the entry of certain notes during the exposition hits more harshly. New York Times, 24 Mar. 2022 Putin desires most the recapitulation of the Russian Empire under his rule. Matthew Continetti, National Review, 26 Mar. 2022 Approximately two hours later — after the serial-style transformations of the exposition have run their course — this same chord comes back during the recapitulation. New York Times, 24 Mar. 2022 The result is a flat, almost robotic recapitulation of observations and events, narrating a vivid stream of footage from his life and career without emotion or intonation. Daniel D'addario, Variety, 8 Mar. 2022 Violinists and violists transport their bodies—and listeners along with them—into the deep past of our identity as mammals, an atavistic recapitulation of evolution. David George Haskell, Wired, 8 Mar. 2022 If Shapiro were a journalist, the unfolding of these events would be an almost exact recapitulation of the Kevin Williamson saga at The Atlantic back in 2018. Damon Linker, The Week, 2 Feb. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of recapitulation was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near recapitulation

Cite this Entry

“Recapitulation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Feb. 2023.

Medical Definition


re·​ca·​pit·​u·​la·​tion ˌrē-kə-ˌpich-ə-ˈlā-shən How to pronounce recapitulation (audio)
: the supposed repetition in the development of the individual of its phylogenetic history see recapitulation theory

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