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



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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 Participants receive four days of job skill training before they are driven to their interviews. Sophie Carson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "'A true champion and a very good man': Milwaukee pastor Jerome Smith, who co-founded well-known jobs program, dies from COVID-19," 1 May 2021 Vaccinated Indians receive a certificate with his face on it. Julia Hollingsworth, CNN, "Prime Minister Narendra Modi could have prevented India's devastating Covid-19 crisis, critics say. He didn't," 30 Apr. 2021 Students receive a composite score between 1 and 36 based on the average scores in each of the four sections. Tim Harlow, Star Tribune, "Robbinsdale Armstrong High School senior earns perfect ACT score on first try," 30 Apr. 2021 With every purchase, shoppers receive a compostable shipping bag to fill with old underwire. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Seventeen's 2021 Sustainable Style Awards," 29 Apr. 2021 The podcast creators receive about 1,000 story submissions a month, which makes Pirates’ captain Lee Overtree a very busy man. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: El Cajon boy’s story about a band-eating shark inspires ‘Story Pirates’ podcast and album," 29 Apr. 2021 Many victims of unemployment-insurance fraud receive 1099-G forms, which notify the Internal Revenue Service when a taxpayer receives benefits, which are often considered taxable. Anne Tergesen, WSJ, "Unemployment-Benefits Fraud Has Soared in the Pandemic. Here’s What to Do.," 29 Apr. 2021 In exchange for a monthly subscription fee, individuals receive a credit or reduction in their electric bill. Ana Faguy,, "Carroll County commissioners hear public testimony on community solar amendment," 29 Apr. 2021 Some stretches of rivers receive inflows from groundwater, while in others, river water seeps down into aquifers. Ian James, The Arizona Republic, "A 'hidden crisis': Millions of groundwater wells are at risk of running dry, scientists find," 28 Apr. 2021

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 entry 1

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Time Traveler for receive

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for receive

Last Updated

3 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Receive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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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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