Definition of reciprocal
1a : inversely related : oppositeb : of, constituting, or resulting from paired crosses in which the kind that supplies the male parent of the first cross supplies the female parent of the second cross and vice versa
2 : shared, felt, or shown by both sides
3 : serving to reciprocate : consisting of or functioning as a return in kind the reciprocal devastation of nuclear war
4a : mutually corresponding agreed to extend reciprocal privileges to each other's citizensb : marked by or based on reciprocity reciprocal trade agreements
reciprocallyplay \-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
Examples of reciprocal in a Sentence
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
Recent Examples of reciprocal from the Web
The U.K. proposal is contingent on reciprocal rights for Britons living within the EU, but EU leaders say the U.K.’s guarantees fall short of those proposed by the EU for British nationals.
Capture of home equity through a sale requires a reciprocal act of attaining new accommodations.
One nearby museum and the mayor of an Alabama town have expressed a desire to acquire the statues, but there's no known reciprocal interest from the city.
The efforts pertaining to reciprocal police services focus on drug, gang or career criminal task forces because, according to Streator, criminal activities routinely occur across jurisdictional lines.
This is a reciprocal arrangement, meaning Royal Navy F-35Bs will one day fly off the decks of American carriers.
The proposal is dependent on British nationals living in EU states being offered a reciprocal deal.
The emerging pattern of reciprocal and escalating violence is a grave threat to free societies, far greater than any threat presented by ISIS alone.
With reciprocal altruism, scientists say, our true motivations may be tainted, and hidden even from ourselves.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reciprocal.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
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.
Origin and Etymology of reciprocal
Latin reciprocus returning the same way, alternating
First Known Use: 1570See Words from the same year
Definition of reciprocal
1 : something in a reciprocal relationship to another
2 : either of a pair of numbers (such as 2⁄3 and 3⁄2 or 9 and 1⁄9) whose product is one; broadly : multiplicative inverse
First Known Use of reciprocal
RECIPROCAL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of reciprocal for English Language Learners
—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.
RECIPROCAL Defined for Kids
Definition of reciprocal for Students
: one of a pair of numbers (as 9 and 1⁄9, 2⁄3 and 3⁄2) whose product is one
Medical Definition of reciprocal
1: inversely related
2: of, constituting, or resulting from paired crosses in which the kind that supplies the male parent of the first cross supplies the female parent of the second cross and vice versa
3: shared, felt, or shown by both sides
Legal Definition of reciprocal
2 : characterized by correspondence or equivalence especially in return or response with another of the same category an … agreement permitting the reciprocal use of each other's land — Ingham v. Block, 351 S.W.3d 96 (2011); also : marked by such correspondence or equivalence between its own components a reciprocal arrangement
3 : marked by reciprocity between states
Seen and Heard
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