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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for receive


admit, enter, take


ban, bar

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

As DERs and their aggregations grow more numerous and larger, the risk arises that large chunks of the system will receive dueling instructions. David Roberts, Vox, "Clean energy technologies threaten to overwhelm the grid. Here’s how it can adapt.," 30 Nov. 2018 Each order that includes a mattress will receive two free Cloud Pillows. Jenny Xie, Curbed, "Best Cyber Monday deals you can still shop," 27 Nov. 2018 But just last year, the upgrade budget was slashed in half, and a new TASS report says the ship will receive new boilers, upgrades to flight operations equipment, and the Pantsir-M close-in defense system. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Russia’s Hard-Luck Carrier Damaged in Shipyard Accident," 30 Oct. 2018 The Voice winner will receive a recording contract and a cash prize. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "How Does 'The Voice' Work? Here's Your Complete Guide to the NBC Show," 22 Oct. 2018 Translation: The great-grandchildren of the Queen will not automatically receive HRHs, with the exception of the Prince Charles's oldest grandson, a.k.a Prince George. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Why Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's Kids Won't Be Princes or Princesses," 15 Oct. 2018 What’s perhaps better than an outright deal is that most of these Surface promotions come bundled with a Type Cover, giving whoever receives it as a gift more versatility out of the box than these Windows 10 machines usually offer. Cameron Faulkner, The Verge, "Microsoft is discounting the Surface Pro 6, Surface Laptop 2, and Xbox One for Black Friday," 15 Nov. 2018 The arrangement, while certainly not for everyone, has been well-received by residents, the architects claim. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "These Japanese homes were designed to encourage neighbor interaction," 15 Nov. 2018 Microsoft has added a few other improvements: Narrator will become more verbose, to provide additional information to those users who have problems reading the screen; and the OneDrive flyout has also received a dark mode, too. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Windows 10 preview build 18282 finally supports smarter Windows Updates, new light theme," 14 Nov. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about receive

Statistics for receive

Last Updated

3 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for receive

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on receive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with receive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for receive

Spanish Central: Translation of receive

Nglish: Translation of receive for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of receive for Arabic Speakers

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).


to move with a clumsy heavy tread

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


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!