re·​cep·​ta·​cle ri-ˈsep-ti-kəl How to pronounce receptacle (audio)
: one that receives and contains something : container
[New Latin receptaculum, from Latin]
: the end of the flower stalk upon which the floral organs are borne
: a structure or tissue (as of a fungus or fern) bearing spores or sporangia
: a mounted female electrical fitting that contains the live parts of the circuit

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 Courtesy of Down and Feather Company Obtaining a fill-power measurement involves filling a receptacle with one ounce of down insulation and then placing a weight on top. WIRED, 5 Nov. 2023 This includes, but is not limited to, signs, filigreed lampposts, benches, bollards, planters, permanent trash receptacles, delivery ramps, underground vaults and just about anything else imaginable, including ornamental clocks. Sam Roberts, New York Times, 27 Aug. 2023 Lately, Tamira has been carrying around this glass receptacle, tap-tap-tapping her fingers on it and clutching it tight to her chest. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 22 Sep. 2023 The company keeps recycling receptacles outside its stores for customers to deposit bags. Marc Bona, cleveland, 7 Sep. 2023 The new investigative unit became a receptacle for activists’ tips about fraud. Sharon Lafraniere, New York Times, 18 Sep. 2023 Six storage receptacles and a queen-size bed were tucked away in the ceiling, ready to be summoned downward on a whim with the push of an iPhone button. Patricia Marx, The New Yorker, 4 Sep. 2023 The worker gave police photos and video of the unidentified suspect who placed the smoke bomb in the cigarette receptacle. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, 11 Aug. 2023 Smoke bomb: West Bagley Road A worker at Sunoco, 455 W. Bagley Road, called police at about 4 p.m. July 22 and said an unidentified male suspect had placed something in the store’s cigarette receptacle. Bob Sandrick, cleveland, 11 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'receptacle.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near receptacle

Cite this Entry

“Receptacle.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


re·​cep·​ta·​cle ri-ˈsep-ti-kəl How to pronounce receptacle (audio)
: something used to receive and contain smaller objects : container
: the enlarged end of a flower stalk upon which the parts of the flower grow

More from Merriam-Webster on receptacle

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