verb re·ceive \ ri-ˈsēv \
|Updated on: 13 Aug 2018

Definition of receive

received; receiving
1 : to come into possession of : acquire
  • receive a gift
2 a : 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
3 a : 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
5 a : 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
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

Examples of receive in a Sentence

  1. … his stark and devastating description of Vichy collaborationism (which he based on German and American archives) was rather badly received in France … —Stanley HoffmannNew York Times Book Review1 Nov. 1981
  2. 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 TarkingtonThe Magnificent Ambersons1918
  3. 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 JohnsonRasselas1759
  4. You will be charged a late fee if the electric company does not receive your payment on time.

  5. I received a letter from her yesterday.

  6. You will receive a discount if you spend over 0.

  7. She received the news of his death with remarkable calmness.

Recent Examples of receive from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of receive

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

receive Synonyms

RECEIVE Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of receive for English Language Learners

  • : to get or be given (something)

  • : to react to (something) in a specified way

  • : to welcome (someone) in usually a formal way

RECEIVE Defined for Kids


verb re·ceive \ ri-ˈsēv \

Definition of receive for Students

received; receiving
1 : to take or get something that is given, paid, or sent
  • Did you receive the money I sent?
2 : 2experience
  • 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

Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!


fullness to the point of excess

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet-pasta-spelling-help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!