re·cep·ta·cle | \ri-ˈsep-ti-kəl \

Definition of receptacle 

1 : one that receives and contains something : container

2 [ New Latin receptaculum, from Latin ]

a : the end of the flower stalk upon which the floral organs are borne

b : a structure or tissue (as of a fungus or fern) bearing spores or sporangia

3 : a mounted female electrical fitting that contains the live parts of the circuit

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Synonyms for receptacle


container, holder, vessel

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Examples of receptacle in a Sentence

She used the box as a receptacle for her jewelry. place all wrappers in the trash receptacles at the entrances of the theater

Recent Examples on the Web

The key was a clay receptacle for the molten metal: a crucible. Jonathan Schifman, Popular Mechanics, "The Entire History of Steel," 9 July 2018 The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything. Sarah Brookbank,, "Fourth of July: Are you violating US flag code? Probably," 4 July 2018 Some officials discourage filling bathtubs and receptacles with available water because hoarding may make the problem worse for all., "Here's what you should buy for your home should disaster strike," 8 July 2018 When passengers have completed the screening and removed their items from the bins, that traveler or a TSA officer will place the bin in a return receptacle. Andrea Leinfelder, Houston Chronicle, "United to demonstrate new automated security lanes at IAH," 27 June 2018 The bots tilt, depositing the goods into receptacles below. Adelaide Chen,, "Central Florida companies scramble ahead of Chinese tariffs," 5 July 2018 For storage, use a portable container such as a large, covered trash receptacle or a duffel bag., "Here's what you should buy for your home should disaster strike," 8 July 2018 The display includes a large receptacle for donated shoes for those in need, a clever nod to host Fred Rogers’ signature TV shoe change from loafers to tennis shoes. Philip Potempa, Post-Tribune, "Mr. Rogers still a trusted name and neighbor to Northwest Indiana public TV," 27 June 2018 Funds have been used to purchase more than 10,000 bear-resistant trash cans, 9,700 sets of hardware to lock regular trash cans and modify 160 commercial trash receptacles or Dumpsters. Stephen Hudak,, "FWC has $500,000 available again for bear-resistant trash cans," 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'receptacle.' 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 receptacle

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for receptacle

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin receptaculum, from receptare to receive, frequentative of recipere to receive

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Statistics for receptacle

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for receptacle

The first known use of receptacle was in the 15th century

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More Definitions for receptacle



English Language Learners Definition of receptacle

: a container that is used to hold something

: a device into which an electric cord can be plugged in order to provide electricity for a lamp, television, etc.


re·cep·ta·cle | \ri-ˈsep-tə-kəl \

Kids Definition of receptacle

: something used to receive and hold smaller objects a trash receptacle

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Comments on receptacle

What made you want to look up receptacle? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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