verb re·cip·ro·cate \ri-ˈsi-prə-ˌkāt\

Definition of reciprocate




  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to give and take mutually

  3. 2 :  to return in kind or degree reciprocate a compliment gracefully

  4. intransitive verb
  5. 1 :  to make a return for something we hope to reciprocate for your kindness

  6. 2 :  to move forward and backward alternately a reciprocating valve


play \-ˌkā-tər\ noun

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Examples of reciprocate in a sentence

  1. Individuals who have received a dedication … are expected to reciprocate with a gift, perhaps placing a few folded notes of money into the hat when they give it back. —A. L. Kennedy, On Bullfighting, 1999

  2. When he entered the room … Agnes was conscious of a latent feeling which secretly reciprocated Henry's unconcealed pleasure on meeting her again. —Wilkie Collins, The Haunted Hotel, 1878

  3. Thus expressing himself, the little lawyer gave Mr. Winkle a poke in the chest, which that gentleman reciprocated; after which they both laughed very loudly … —Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers, 1837

  4. They appreciated her kindness but were not ready to reciprocate the gesture.

  5. reciprocated the favor by driving their neighbor to the airport

Origin and Etymology of reciprocate

see 1reciprocal

First Known Use: 1607

Synonym Discussion of reciprocate

reciprocate, retaliate, requite, return mean to give back usually in kind or in quantity. reciprocate implies a mutual or equivalent exchange or a paying back of what one has received reciprocated their hospitality by inviting them for a visit. retaliate usually implies a paying back of injury in exact kind, often vengefully the enemy retaliated by executing their prisoners. requite implies a paying back according to one's preference and often not equivalently requited her love with cold indifference. return implies a paying or giving back returned their call return good for evil.

RECIPROCATE Defined for English Language Learners


verb re·cip·ro·cate \ri-ˈsi-prə-ˌkāt\

Definition of reciprocate for English Language Learners

  • : to do (something) for or to someone who has done something similar for or to you

  • : to have (a feeling) for someone who has the same feeling for you

  • : to move back and forth again and again

Seen and Heard

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capable of being understood in two ways

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