rec·​i·​proc·​i·​ty | \ ˌre-sə-ˈprä-s(ə-)tē How to pronounce reciprocity (audio) \
plural reciprocities

Definition of reciprocity

1 : the quality or state of being reciprocal : mutual dependence, action, or influence
2 : a mutual exchange of privileges specifically : a recognition by one of two countries or institutions of the validity of licenses or privileges granted by the other

Examples of reciprocity in a Sentence

Grownups know that little things matter … and that relationships are based on respect and reciprocity. — Margaret Carlson, Time, 4 June 2001 Introduced in the McKinley Tariff of 1890, reciprocity gave the president authority to remove items from the free list if their countries of origin placed unreasonable tariffs on American goods. — Mary Beth Norton et al., A People and a Nation, 1988 Indeed when they talked on an indifferent subject, as now, there was ever a second silent conversation passing between their emotions, so perfect was the reciprocity between them. — Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure, 1895 The proposal calls for reciprocity in trade relations.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Basic friendship skills — reciprocity, listening, turn-taking, sharing — should also show up in your romantic relationships. Heidi Stevens,, "Column: Middle school has a lousy reputation. (Frenemies! Hormones! Lockers!) New book aims to change all that.," 23 Aug. 2019 Ryan on Tuesday gave no indication there are additional measures in the works beyond the legislation already passed in the House, which includes the background check proposal and concealed carry reciprocity measure., "Trump Talks About Shooting Response but Offers Few Details," 27 Feb. 2018 Not finding a reciprocity program that works for you? Good Housekeeping, "Save on College with Interstate Tuition Discounts," 8 Sep. 2010 True, by 1787, most states had come to reciprocity agreements with one another. Thomas Wendel, National Review, "The Beginning of a Nation," 4 July 2019 Even more, students will look to other states for their higher education, especially because Alaska has tuition reciprocity with other Western states. NBC News, "Alaska fears 'brain drain' after 41 percent proposed cut to university system," 6 July 2019 Driver’s licenses and identification cards issued in Puerto Rico aren’t subject to the same reciprocity extended to those issued in other states, the lawsuit says. Kate Brumback,, "Lawsuit alleges discrimination by Ga. driver’s license agency," 2 July 2019 Meanwhile, terminally ill cancer patients can get medical cannabis through reciprocity agreements with other states. USA TODAY, "Moon rocks, Misty of Chincoteague, Haiku Stairs: News from around our 50 states," 28 June 2019 Confucius stressed the cultivation of personal qualities such as benevolence, reciprocity, and filial piety. National Geographic, "Who was Confucius?," 26 Mar. 2019

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

1753, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for reciprocity

see reciprocal entry 1

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Statistics for reciprocity

Last Updated

5 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reciprocity

The first known use of reciprocity was in 1753

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English Language Learners Definition of reciprocity

formal : a situation or 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. : a reciprocal arrangement or relationship


rec·​i·​proc·​i·​ty | \ ˌre-sə-ˈprä-sə-tē How to pronounce reciprocity (audio) \
plural reciprocities

Legal Definition of reciprocity

1 : the quality or state of being reciprocal
2 : the exchange, recognition, or enforcement of licenses, privileges, or obligations between states of the U.S. or between nations

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Comments on reciprocity

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


readily or continually undergoing change

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