re·​cap·​ture | \ (ˌ)rē-ˈkap-chər How to pronounce recapture (audio) \

Definition of recapture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : the act of retaking
b : an instance of being retaken
2 : the retaking of a prize or goods under international law
3 : a government seizure under law of earnings or profits beyond a fixed amount


recaptured; recapturing; recaptures

Definition of recapture (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to capture again
b : to experience again by no effort of the imagination could she recapture the ecstasy— Ellen Glasgow
2 : to take (something, such as a portion of earnings or profits above a fixed amount) by law or through negotiations under law

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Examples of recapture in a Sentence

Noun the recapture of the territory may take longer than expected Verb The guards recaptured the escaped prisoner. The soldiers recaptured the hill they had lost the day before. In the final lap of the race, he recaptured the lead. They are trying to recapture those happy times they had together. The documentary recaptures the social tensions of the 1960s.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Pelosi retains the support of most Democrats, who revere her for leading their 2018 recapture of House control and their battles against President Donald Trump. Alan Fram, ajc, "Pelosi likely speaker again, but might require high-wire act," 30 Dec. 2020 Second method: ‘Capture-recapture’ Another way to calculate total infections is through a method that epidemiologists have taken from ecology, used to estimate animal populations that cannot be directly counted. David Hogberg, Washington Examiner, "Here's how many people have really been infected by the coronavirus," 24 Nov. 2020 Kim Wall's family declined to comment on Madsen's escape and recapture. NBC News, "Peter Madsen, Danish inventor who murdered journalist Kim Wall, recaptured after prison break," 20 Oct. 2020 The recapture of the town of Cabrayil near the Iranian border would mark the most significant gain for Azerbaijan since large-scale hostilities resumed Sept. 27. Zulfugar Agayev,, "Armenian-Backed Forces Say They Hit Base in Azerbaijani City," 4 Oct. 2020 Sergio Costa, who has repeatedly urged the government not to kill the bear in their recapture efforts. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "Italy's serial escape artist bear Papillon recaptured after 42 days on the run," 8 Sep. 2020 He also was involved in the successful military recapture of the American merchant ship Mayaguez in May 1975 after a group of Cambodian communists seized the vessel. Washington Post, "Brent Scowcroft, key national security adviser to two presidents, dies at 95," 7 Aug. 2020 As part of the new budget, Spring Branch ISD will pay $32.7 million to the state as part of the Robin Hood recapture legislation designed to use money from property-rich districts to help fund property-poor districts. Elliott Lapin, Houston Chronicle, "New Spring Branch ISD budget includes property tax rate decrease," 25 June 2020 The budget was developed after the state Legislature passed a school finance bill last year intended to increase teacher pay while reducing recapture rates and lowering school district taxes. Dallas News, "Teachers to make more money under Grapevine-Colleyville ISD’s new budget, approved this week," 17 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Democrats are hoping the political organization and movement created by Stacey Abrams, who nearly won her race for governor in 2018 by driving up turnout among the party’s base, will recapture that energy and especially help mobilize Black voters. Shane Goldmacher, New York Times, "With Senate Control Hanging in Balance, ‘Crazytown’ Cash Floods Georgia," 19 Nov. 2020 This series of events could have ended another way, with tests such as Abbott’s allowing Americans to recapture a shred of normal life. Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic, "Trump Is Squandering the Best Hope for Coronavirus Testing," 9 Oct. 2020 Founded in 2016, this home fragrance and lifestyle brand taps into our general longing to recapture a specific moment or place in time. Laura Kiniry, Smithsonian Magazine, "This Holiday Season, Travel with Your Nose," 23 Dec. 2020 Converse, the 112-year-old brand that has sold Chucks for 103 of those years, has a sudden and unusual chance to recapture the public’s imagination. New York Times, "The Ups and Downs of Fashion in 2020," 23 Dec. 2020 That momentum has been hard to recapture, though Shelton said that delivery orders have been steadily rising as the pandemic enters its 10th month in Michigan. Mark Kurlyandchik, Detroit Free Press, "Oak Park cafe brings multiple small food businesses together under one roof," 19 Dec. 2020 The Soviet Union’s launch of the Sputnik space satellite in 1957 shocked the world, especially the U.S., and Air Force officials were likely looking for dramatic ways to recapture the lead. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Watch What Would Happen If We Nuked the Moon," 17 Dec. 2020 McCarthy sounded very different than Vander Esch, a third-year linebacker who has yet to recapture his rookie form. Michael Gehlken, Dallas News, "Cowboys need more accountability, an area in which Mike McCarthy fell short Tuesday," 9 Dec. 2020 Want to make your deer season a little more exciting and recapture some of that wonder from your first few falls? The Editors, Outdoor Life, "35 Pieces of Deer-Hunting Wisdom to Read Before You Hunt This Season," 2 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'recapture.' 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 recapture


1752, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1799, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for recapture

Time Traveler

The first known use of recapture was in 1752

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Statistics for recapture

Last Updated

17 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Recapture.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for recapture



English Language Learners Definition of recapture

: to catch (someone or something that has escaped)
: to gain control of (a place or position) again after losing it
: to experience or bring back (a feeling, quality, or situation) again


re·​cap·​ture | \ ˌrē-ˈkap-chər How to pronounce recapture (audio) \
recaptured; recapturing

Kids Definition of recapture

1 : to regain possession of Soldiers recaptured the fort.
2 : to experience again I wish I could recapture my youth.


transitive verb
re·​cap·​ture | \ ˌrē-ˈkap-chər \
recaptured; recapturing

Legal Definition of recapture

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to capture again
2 : to recover or take (as an excess or gain) by law or agreement especially : to recover (a tax benefit) by higher or additional taxation of income or property that ceases to qualify for a credit or deduction or by taxing gain realized from the sale or exchange of such property the government recaptured the depreciation by taxing the gain resulting from the difference between the sale price and the basis after depreciation



Legal Definition of recapture (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : the act or process of recapturing
2 : an amount recaptured or subject to recapture

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