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 Without the changes enacted this year, Alamo Heights ISD would have owed the state a recapture payment of about $42 million. Krista Torralva,, "Alamo Heights ISD cuts payment to ‘Robin Hood’ by $7.8 million," 23 Aug. 2019 Meanwhile, said Carter, those who helped him evade recapture might face charges of their own. Rafael Olmeda,, "Fugitive’s final hours on lam: How murder suspect was nabbed after mistake set him free," 11 July 2019 The bill provides more money for Texas classrooms, increases teacher compensation, reduces recapture and cuts local property taxes for Texas taxpayers. Elliott Lapin, Houston Chronicle, "Huffman ISD to address salary compensation manual at tonight’s meeting," 22 July 2019 The Broward Sheriff’s Office has not disclosed exactly how Vail’s location was discovered or whether anyone is in line to claim the $3,000 that was offered by Broward Crimestoppers for information leading to his recapture. Rafael Olmeda,, "Fugitive’s final hours on lam: How murder suspect was nabbed after mistake set him free," 11 July 2019 House Bill 3 will also include new property tax relief for area homeowners and a welcome reduction in district recapture payments, also called Robin Hood. Staff Report, Houston Chronicle, "Spring Branch ISD board of trustees approves new budget and pay increases," 29 June 2019 Changes to the recapture system, which requires property-rich districts to send property tax money to the state to help fund property-poor districts, have favored Alamo Heights, Comal and Boerne ISDs. Liz Teitz,, "School districts across San Antonio deciding teacher pay raises," 21 June 2019 The recapture of Douma, in the region of Eastern Ghouta on the outskirts of Damascus, effectively represents the end of the war between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the rebel groups opposing his rule. Washington Post, "As fears mount over open U.S.-Russia conflict, Moscow seeks to lower the temperature," 12 Apr. 2018 There was no immediate comment from Jordan on the Syrian forces’ recapture of Naseeb crossing. Washington Post, "Syrian troops reach border crossing with Jordan," 6 July 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb An inmate who escaped from a work release center in Childersburg last week was recaptured in Sylacauga on Monday. Carol Robinson |, al, "Escaped work release inmate recaptured at Sylacauga motel," 16 Sep. 2019 The national security agencies want to recapture the presidency with any Democrat or Republican who will return to the national security status quo. Jefferson Morley, The New Republic, "Democrats Are Trapped in Trump’s “Deep State” War," 16 Sep. 2019 Somewhere buried in this morass is a theme about trying to recapture and deal with the past. Caryn James, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Giant': Film Review | TIFF 2019," 8 Sep. 2019 Behind the scenes, the raceway is working to recapture used oil, cleaning solvents, fluids and lubricants and re-refine them for further use. Elena Shao,, "Car racing doesn’t sound eco-friendly, but Sonoma Raceway wants to change that," 26 July 2019 But then came Know Your Enemy, an awkward record that aimed to recapture the punk ethos of the Richey years; listening to it was gruesomely compelling, like watching a paunchy thirty-five-year old try to pull on an old pair of jeans. Longreads, "Manic Street Preachers’ Album The Holy Bible," 25 June 2019 Since then, the producers of all the subsequent films in the franchise have worked overtime to recapture just a small piece of that wonder. Mike Scott,, "‘Men in Black: International’ movie review: The truth is … boring," 12 June 2019 Levi’s, for one, has been able to recapture its edge. Marc Bain, Quartzy, "Gap is blaming the weather for poor sales of its boring clothes," 31 May 2019 No large-scale massacres had occurred in the cities that his forces had recently recaptured. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, "The Moral Logic of Humanitarian Intervention," 9 Sep. 2019

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

31 Oct 2019

Cite this Entry

“Recapture.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 21 November 2019.

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More Definitions for recapture



Financial Definition of recapture

What It Is

A recapture occurs when a person or entity takes back an asset from a buyer under certain conditions.

How It Works

Taxing authorities can implement tax recaptures in which the taxing authority requires a taxpayer to pay taxes on previous years of income (usually when the taxpayer took a deduction or tax credit that the taxing authority decides was inappropriate).

Recapture clauses are common in commercial real estate. Let's say John Doe owns the ABC Shopping Center. He leases some retail space to Company XYZ. The lease says Company XYZ will pay 3% of its sales to John Doe as rent every month for a minimum of $5,000 per month. In other words, Company XYZ has to have revenues of at least $167,000 a month.

Company XYZ only does $100,000 a month. Because the lease has a recapture clause, John Doe can terminate the lease and take back the retail space from Company XYZ. This allows him to get a better-performing tenant in the space rather than having to suffer through the entire term of the lease with a tenant that doesn't generate enough income for him.

Another form of recapture is the depreciation recapture. Let's say John Doe bought a house for $100,000 and ran a business out of it, which allowed him to depreciate the house by $1,000 a year. He lived in the house for five years, thus recording $5,000 of depreciation, and then decided to sell the house and move to Tampa. He sold the house for $120,000.

Because the house is a depreciable asset to John, his profit on the sale of the house is based on the depreciated value of the house (that is, $100,000 - $5,000, or $95,000). It is not based on what he paid for the house ($100,000). So, his sale for $120,000 generates a $25,000 profit, not a $20,000 profit. In other words, John must declare a recaptured gain of $25,000.

Why It Matters

Recaptures are most common in commercial real estate transactions, but they can be in any sort of contract in which an asset exchange takes place and the buyer may want the option to buy back the asset later. And as we've shown, taxing authorities can recapture lost tax revenue when they decide that taxpayers have not been following the rules.

Source: Investing Answers



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.

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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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