rec·​i·​pe | \ˈre-sə-(ˌ)pē \

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

The first documented recipe for a s’more stems from the 1927 publication Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts. Evelyn Lamb, Smithsonian, "The Scientific Quest For the Perfect S’more," 13 July 2018 Everyone in the kitchen knows how to make my recipes. Shonda Talerico Dudlicek, Lake County News-Sun, "El Puerto's menu is full of owner specialties," 13 July 2018 Other companies are also working on new chemo-friendly recipes and meals. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "This Beer Was Developed For Breast Cancer Patients," 9 July 2018 Brewers created beers that were probably good, but marketing had the final say over the recipes and ordered changes to fit their occasions strategy. San Antonio Express-News, "Not the beer that matters, it’s the bottle, right marketers?," 28 June 2018 Jonathan would bring recipes and beer to family occasions, which influenced Steve and D.J. Component Brewing offered a sneak peek to the Bay View community with a soft open last weekend. Kathy Flanigan, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Component Brewing taps 7 new beers for its public opening Friday in Bay View," 25 June 2018 Every meal was a family-style feast composed of fresh fruit and veggies from the island, traditional Greek recipes, and free-flowing rosé. Laura Itzkowitz, GQ, "Skip Santorini and Head to These Lesser-Known Greek Islands Instead," 14 June 2018 When serving, spread crepe with warm fruit filling (recipe below) and almond or cashew butter. Fox News, "Not your average Mother's Day Brunch: Surprise mom with fruit-filled paleo crepes," 10 May 2018 At the end of the line, head pastry chef Stephanie Thornton (Four Seasons Hotel, New York) will test recipes and hand out samples from a small open kitchen. Michael Russell,, "There's a new downtown food cart specializing in Shanghai-style pan-fried soup dumplings," 9 May 2018

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

6 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for recipe

The first known use of recipe was in 1533

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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 \

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 \

Medical Definition of recipe 

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More from Merriam-Webster on recipe

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for recipe

Spanish Central: Translation of recipe

Nglish: Translation of recipe for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of recipe for Arabic Speakers

Comments on recipe

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


something that serves to warn or remind

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