rec·​i·​pe | \ ˈre-sə-(ˌ)pē How to pronounce recipe (audio) \

Definition of recipe

2 : a set of instructions for making something from various ingredients
3 : a formula or procedure for doing or attaining something a recipe for success

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The History of Receipt and Recipe

These days it may seem odd to speak of "grandma's cookie receipt," but at one time the only meaning of receipt was "recipe." The first recorded use of receipt is a reference to a medicinal preparation in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (c. 1386). Recipe didn't arrive until the 1500s, and it was also first used to describe medicine. Both words began to be applied to cooking only in the 18th century, after which recipe slowly became the preferred word. Receipt acquired its currently more familiar sense of "a written statement saying that money or goods have been received" in the 17th century. Both receipt and recipe are thought to be ultimately derived from Latin recipere ("to receive"), making them probable relatives as well as synonyms.

Examples of recipe in a Sentence

The recipe calls for fresh thyme. I didn't read the recipe carefully. This is one of my grandmother's recipes.
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Recent Examples on the Web Shoehorning all reps into the same training is a recipe for failure. Expert Panel®, Forbes, "15 Business Leaders Share Their Most Effective Sales Training Techniques," 28 Apr. 2021 Trying to copy China is unlikely to be a recipe for success. Dan Pearson, National Review, "Joe Biden’s Protectionist Folly," 28 Apr. 2021 That's the perfect recipe for big banks, which are posting eye-popping results for the first three months of the year. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Coinbase's stunning Wall Street debut is a huge validation for crypto fans," 15 Apr. 2021 This approach is a recipe for delays that could mean the difference between containment and outbreak. James Crawford, STAT, "To stem the pandemic, the U.S. needs a national Covid-19 genomic sequencing effort," 9 Apr. 2021 Having two wild-card maps in every match this season isn’t a recipe for a repeat championship. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "Dallas Empire keep making same mistakes, spurring lengthy team meeting after 3-2 loss to OpTic Chicago," 4 Apr. 2021 Wavering effort and silly mistakes were a recipe for another lottery trip. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, "Nagging mistakes doom Warriors in loss to Heat," 1 Apr. 2021 In a society where mental health education is not uniformly taught in schools, and where most people with depression go untreated, this is a recipe for disaster. Andrew Devendorf, The Conversation, "We studied depression messages on YouTube videos and found dangerous and stigmatizing stereotypes prevail," 29 Mar. 2021 Given increasingly stringent regulations in major markets such as China and the EU, supporting weak standards is not a recipe for success in a global market. Fortune, "Scott Stringer: Strong clean vehicle standards will help U.S. automakers compete globally," 22 Apr. 2021

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

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for recipe

Latin, take, imperative of recipere to take, receive — more at receive

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Statistics for recipe

Last Updated

8 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Recipe.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for recipe



English Language Learners Definition of recipe

: a set of instructions for making food
: a way of doing something that will produce a particular result


rec·​i·​pe | \ ˈre-sə-pē How to pronounce recipe (audio) \

Kids Definition of recipe

: a set of instructions for making something (as a food dish) by combining various things


rec·​i·​pe | \ ˈres-ə-(ˌ)pē How to pronounce recipe (audio) \

Medical Definition of recipe

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