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

That Woman’—saddled, as a young woman, with the false narrative that my mouth was merely a receptacle for a powerful man’s desire. Anna North, Vox, "Monica Lewinsky is finally having her moment," 15 Nov. 2018 In the second video, Kaley is the only one still eating the food and a member of the crew is seen stacking plates and dumping the remaining grub in what appears to be a trash receptacle. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Kaley Cuoco Responds to 'Big Bang Theory' Fans Outraged About Her Behind-the-Scenes Instagram," 14 Nov. 2018 On Thursday, Wheeler said his program would include installing more trash cans in the city core and establishing regular pickups at the receptacles, the report said. Amy Lieu, Fox News, "Mayor vows to make Portland, Ore., 'cleanest and most livable' in US," 7 Sep. 2018 The patrons have been amassing art and antiques for many years, and this house is the perfect receptacle for their blue-chip collection, which ranges from classical sculptures to artworks from the 17th through the 20th centuries. Whitney Robinson, ELLE Decor, "A Maximalist Dream Home Comes to Life In Seville," 5 Sep. 2018 Investigators suspect that a drop team left various receptacles containing the nerve agent around the town of Salisbury. Jennie Neufeld, Vox, "Vox Sentences: Life, er, lake on Mars," 26 July 2018 The occupiers sort their trash, recycling, and compost and deposit it in nearby city receptacles., "ICE protestors outside City Hall battle heat, loss of electricity," 9 July 2018 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

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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Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for receptacle

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

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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).


a complex dispute or argument

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