re·ceive | \ri-ˈsēv \
received; receiving

Definition of receive 

transitive verb

1 : to come into possession of : acquire receive a gift

2a : to act as a receptacle or container for the cistern receives water from the roof

b : to assimilate through the mind or senses receive new ideas

3a : to permit to enter : admit

b : welcome, greet

c : to react to in a specified manner

4 : to accept as authoritative, true, or accurate : believe

5a : to support the weight or pressure of : bear

b : to take (a mark or impression) from the weight of something some clay receives clear impressions

c : acquire, experience received his early schooling at home

d : to suffer the hurt or injury of received a broken nose

intransitive verb

1 : to be a recipient

2 : to be at home to visitors receives on Tuesdays

3 : to convert incoming radio waves into perceptible signals

4 : to prepare to take possession of the ball from a kick in football

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Synonyms & Antonyms for receive


admit, enter, take


ban, bar

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Examples of receive in a Sentence

… his stark and devastating description of Vichy collaborationism (which he based on German and American archives) was rather badly received in France … — Stanley Hoffmann, New York Times Book Review, 1 Nov. 1981 George, white-gloved, with a gardenia in his buttonhole, stood with his mother and the Major, embowered in the big red and gold drawing room downstairs, to "receive" the guests; and, standing thus together, the trio offered a picturesque example of good looks persistent through three generations. — Booth Tarkington, The Magnificent Ambersons, 1918 From this time the astronomer was received into familiar friendship, and partook of all their projects and pleasures: his respect kept him attentive, and the activity of Rasselas did not leave much time unengaged. — Samuel Johnson, Rasselas, 1759 You will be charged a late fee if the electric company does not receive your payment on time. I received a letter from her yesterday. You will receive a discount if you spend over $100. She received the news of his death with remarkable calmness.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Weather officials predict Boston will receive about 0.5 inches. Elise Takahama,, "Scattered showers will hit Boston this weekend, along with increasing clouds and humidity," 14 July 2018 Kennedy did not report receiving income from his son on his financial disclosure forms from 2004 to 2016; these forms don't require him to list his adult children's income sources. Salvador Rizzo,, "There is an unfounded conspiracy theory about the Supreme Court and Trump Tower Chicago," 14 July 2018 In addition, her photography business received about $80,000 through bogus photography courses, the report said. Dom Calicchio, Fox News, "Widow of union official led 'high-flying lifestyle' on cash meant to train autoworkers: prosecutor," 14 July 2018 The family will be sitting Shiva and receiving guests Thursday following the internment, Friday and Sunday at the Walfish residence in Wellington, Fl., "Deaths in South Florida: 7/14," 14 July 2018 La Silla Vacía, Colombia’s third-most-influential news source, according to a recent survey, receives 57% of its revenue from grants and 28% from advertising and sponsorships. The Economist, "Latin America’s new media are growing up," 14 July 2018 So patients shouldn't conflate data gathered from an at-home device with receiving a real diagnosis from a doctor. Jordyn Hermani, Indianapolis Star, "Fishers teen discovers she has heart defect after wearing Fitbit," 14 July 2018 Wingstop Sign up for the wing joint’s eClub and receive a large order of complimentary fries., "How to Get Free McDonald's Fries and More Deals on Friday for National French Fry Day," 13 July 2018 Regardless, the return — after a four-game suspension, the offseason's most recent setback — of Julian Edelman, who will be a year removed from his ACL tear by opening day, should largely offset any concerns in the receiving corps. Nate Davis, USA TODAY, "Patriots training camp questions: Will rocky offseason carry over for AFC champions?," 13 July 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for receive

Middle English, from Anglo-French receivre, from Latin recipere, from re- + capere to take — more at heave

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Phrases Related to receive

on/at the receiving end

Statistics for receive

Last Updated

8 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for receive

The first known use of receive was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for receive



English Language Learners Definition of receive

: to get or be given (something)

: to react to (something) in a specified way

: to welcome (someone) in usually a formal way


re·ceive | \ri-ˈsēv \
received; receiving

Kids Definition of receive

1 : to take or get something that is given, paid, or sent Did you receive the money I sent?

2 : experience entry 2 Stone Fox refused to speak with the white man because of the treatment his people had received.— John Reynolds Gardiner, Stone Fox

3 : to accept as a visitor or member : welcome She's too ill to receive friends.

4 : to change incoming radio waves into sounds or pictures

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Comments on receive

What made you want to look up receive? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not any or not one

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