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
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



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 Teach For America, Phoenix $7,500 Funds will help recruit corps members to join a cohort of 140+ teachers who receive exceptional training and support and impact 10,000 students in low-income communities in the Valley. James Carr, azcentral, "143 Arizona charities awarded $1.8M in Season for Sharing grants," 8 Mar. 2020 For the 114 homes that received furnishings, the cost for each home was estimated at $2,970. Houston Chronicle, "BuildAid restores homes affected by Hurricane Harvey," 7 Mar. 2020 Even among nursing homes that received federal regulators’ highest overall ratings and highest healthcare ratings, 41 percent still had problems with infection control. Mike Stucka And Marisa Kwiatkowski, USA TODAY, "Coronavirus a concern in nursing homes, where 75% have been cited for infection control issues," 6 Mar. 2020 The guidelines for who exactly should receive testing are a quickly moving target. Tara C. Smith, SELF, "How Can You Get Tested for Coronavirus?," 6 Mar. 2020 The list included some of La Salle's blue-chip defensive backfield that have received multiple offers like Kiner, including Jaylen Johnson who is committed to Ohio State and Devonta Smith and Iesa Jarmon. Shelby Dermer,, "UC in the mix as blue-chip Roger Bacon running back Corey Kiner lists his Top 10 schools," 6 Mar. 2020 Instead of catching and shooting from the block while facing the rim, Sabonis put the ball on the floor and dribbled into Lopez, who received immediate support from three other defenders to shut off the paint. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Pacers lack discipline for 4 quarters against elite teams such as Bucks," 5 Mar. 2020 The ailment strikes a significant percentage of people who receive hematopoietic stem cell transplants during cancer treatment, developing when immune cells from the transplant attack the recipient’s own tissue. Mitch Leslie, Science | AAAS, "New drugs aim to disarm the immune system’s ‘atomic bomb’ cells," 5 Mar. 2020 Further south in Texas, Rep. Henry Cuellar (D., Texas) narrowly beat Jessica Cisneros, a 26-year-old who has criticized Mr. Cuellar as too conservative and who received financial support from several national groups, the Associated Press projected. Andrew Duehren, WSJ, "Top Takeaways From Tuesday’s House, Senate Primaries," 4 Mar. 2020

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 entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about receive

Time Traveler for receive

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for receive

Last Updated

11 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Receive.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Apr. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for receive


How to pronounce receive (audio)

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on receive

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for receive

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

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!