re·​ceive | \ ri-ˈsēv How to pronounce receive (audio) \
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

The amount of housing, which would be limited to residents 55 years of age and older, is a far cry from the last proposal the city received for the site. Nick Ferraro, Twin Cities, "Apartments, restaurant proposed for vacant land near the Village at Mendota Heights," 15 June 2019 Donald Trump is involved in two lawsuits over his ownership of the property, actions that argue the president is violating the US Constitution’s emoluments clause by receiving payments from foreign governments that spend money at the hotel. Justin Rohrlich, Quartz, "Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner made up to $135 million while working for free," 15 June 2019 Gary Teachers Union President GlenEva Dunham said earlier via text the union’s lawyer was working to make sure each received due process. Meredith Colias-pete, Post-Tribune, "Documents: Gary principal to be fired over confrontation with mother, failure to prescreen 'annoying award' for autistic boy," 15 June 2019 He’ll be joined by another player with big-play capabilities in junior K.D. Nixon, who was second on the team in receiving with 636 yards while also contributing in the return game. Matt Murschel,, "College Football Rankings: No. 73 Colorado hopes changes at top lead to more wins," 15 June 2019 The city of Huntsville incentives require that Navistar complete at least half its expansion while maintaining the 126 employees before receiving half of the money. Paul Gattis |,, "Navistar plans $125 million Huntsville expansion, 145 new jobs," 14 June 2019 One resident received burns that were not life threatening, a fire department spokesman said. Bob Warren,, "North Shore firefighters battle condo blaze," 14 June 2019 Gilead Sciences, the maker of the PrEP pill Truvada, has raised the price by 45% since the drug received FDA approval for preventing HIV infection six years ago, according to an article in the online journal Healthline. Julie Washington,, "Costs, stigma keep HIV drug Truvada out of hands of those who need it most," 14 June 2019 Susan Quinn, a member of Zion, said the dinners are typically well-received. Donna Vickroy, Daily Southtown, "Zion Lutheran Church's community dinner gets a flavor boost from Certified Master Chef Tim Bucci," 14 June 2019

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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Statistics for receive

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

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


re·​ceive | \ ri-ˈsēv How to pronounce receive (audio) \
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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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).


behavior toward others

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