Definition of reciprocal
- the reciprocal devastation of nuclear war
- agreed to extend reciprocal privileges to each other's citizens
- reciprocal trade agreements
the two nations agreed to give reciprocal work rights to each other's citizens, thus facilitating the daily border crossings of workers from both countries
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In Latin, reciprocus means "returning the same way" or "alternating". So in a reciprocating engine, like the one in your car, the pistons move back and forth, and that motion is transformed into the rotary motion of the crankshaft. A reciprocal is a pair of numbers (such as 5/6 and 6/5) that can be multiplied to produce 1. Reciprocity (with the accent on the third syllable) between two nations means they agree to recognize certain things granted in one country as being valid in the other—for example, your driver's license.
First Known Use: 1570See Words from the same year
—used to describe a relationship in which two people or groups agree to do something similar for each other, to allow each other to have the same rights, etc.
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