re·​cep·​ta·​cle | \ ri-ˈsep-ti-kəl How to pronounce receptacle (audio) \

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

Synonyms for receptacle


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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 electric rake operates through any clumping litter and the receptacle stores up to a week’s mess. Lynn Redmile, Good Housekeeping, 9 May 2022 Following hydrogen refueling, the inlet receptacle filter could detach and cause a hydrogen fuel leak. USA TODAY, 21 Apr. 2022 Sound can be a powerful emotional receptacle, triggering memories when heard again. Peter Debruge, Variety, 11 Mar. 2022 The Bissell's dirt receptacle only needed emptying once at the end of all the tests. Amy Jamieson,, 15 Apr. 2022 Museum visitors scan the codes on their phones and can listen to an audio description of the derelict receptacle. Christopher Arnott,, 31 Mar. 2022 Hand outgoing mail to your letter carrier, or mail it inside at the post office or at a secure receptacle at your place of business. Jesse Leavenworth,, 21 Mar. 2022 Its application, prepared by the engineering firm Geosyntec Consultants, frames the project as the last and best hope for rescuing the lake after decades of neglect and misuse as a bottomless receptacle for fetid effluents and invasive fish. Brian Maffly, The Salt Lake Tribune, 2 Feb. 2022 But how to transfer this mind file into some receptacle that will contain it forever? Peter Keough,, 6 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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

Buying Guide

Our Reviews team has selected the best packing cubes.

Learn More About receptacle

Time Traveler for receptacle

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near receptacle




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for receptacle

Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Receptacle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for receptacle


re·​cep·​ta·​cle | \ ri-ˈsep-tə-kəl How to pronounce receptacle (audio) \

Kids Definition of receptacle

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

More from Merriam-Webster on receptacle

Nglish: Translation of receptacle for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of receptacle for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about receptacle


Test Your Vocabulary

Which Word Does Not Belong?

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!