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 Jacksonville Victim Assistance Advisory Council received $150,000 in a presentation after the match was over. Jay Reddick,, "AEW Fight for the Fallen: Young Bucks defeat Rhodes brothers in emotional main event," 14 July 2019 Among other honors, McMurtry also received a Lifetime Achievement in Theater award from the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle in 2008. James Hebert, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Remembering Jonathan McMurtry — Old Globe associate artist, teacher and dean of Shakespeare actors in San Diego," 13 July 2019 Nearly two years ago the owner of the property received violation notices for unpermitted greenhouses, cargo containers and cannabis cultivation. Megan Cassidy,, "Sonoma County officials seize 9,000 plants in illegal cannabis operation," 13 July 2019 Orlandi's family had received a tip that she might be buried there. Nicole Winfield, Anchorage Daily News, "Vatican mystery over missing girl deepens as bones are found," 13 July 2019 Wynright was approved to participate in Illinois’ Economic Development for a Growing Economy program, but the company never received any tax credits, according to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Abdel Jimenez,, "Conveyor manufacturer Wynright to close 2 Illinois sites, move to Indiana," 12 July 2019 So, this year, members of the store's rewards club got entered into a raffle of sorts, and 200,000 people throughout the U.S., U.K. and Canada received a winner ticket. Amy Schwabe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Remember the crazy lines at Mayfair for Build-a-Bear's Pay your age day last year? This year's promotion was much calmer.," 12 July 2019 Following the push-back that decision received, the board eventually decided to continue the current model that allowed five golfers to be entered, with the lowest four scores counting toward the team total. Robert Rimpson, The Courier-Journal, "KHSAA keeps fifth player for state golf tournament, but only the top teams will advance," 12 July 2019 In the early hours of Sunday morning, the West Hartford Fire Department received an unusual call: a pregnant woman was in labor, at her home. Mikala Kane,, "Good news this week: Paramedics help deliver a healthy baby girl and a third grader is a Doodle for Google finalist," 12 July 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

16 Jul 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

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characterized by aphorism

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