rec·​i·​proc·​i·​ty ˌre-sə-ˈprä-s(ə-)tē How to pronounce reciprocity (audio)
plural reciprocities
: the quality or state of being reciprocal : mutual dependence, action, or influence
: 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

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between reciprocity and endorsement?

Each of these words has multiple meanings, some of which are similar, and others of which are not. Reciprocity may mean "a mutual exchange of privileges" and is often applied to things such as professional certification (neighboring states may have a reciprocal agreement so that certification a worker needs is applicable in each). Endorsement may mean "sanction, approval" or simply refer to "the act or process of endorsing."

Can reciprocity be mutual?

Reciprocal and mutual share a good deal of meaning; the former may be defined as "shared, felt, or shown by both sides," and the latter as "shared in common." Based on this semantic overlap some usage guides caution against using any form of the two words (mutually reciprocal, or mutual reciprocity) together, on the grounds that it is redundant.

Is reciprocity a noun or verb?

Reciprocity is a noun. The verb form of the word is reciprocate; the adjective is reciprocal, and the adverb is reciprocally.

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.
Recent Examples on the Web This is a time to assert your needs while committing to reciprocity and mutual growth. Valerie Mesa, Peoplemag, 8 July 2024 This implies reciprocity in the views of many researchers. Joshua Rapp Learn, Discover Magazine, 11 June 2024 Many analysts blame Clinton for naively encouraging communist China’s accession to the World Trade Organization without proper conditionality or reciprocity. Stephen Kotkin, Foreign Affairs, 6 Apr. 2022 For me, that was very illustrative of this reciprocity of geology and biology, of earth and life. Allison Parshall, Scientific American, 25 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for reciprocity 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'reciprocity.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see reciprocal entry 1

First Known Use

1753, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of reciprocity was in 1753

Dictionary Entries Near reciprocity

Cite this Entry

“Reciprocity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


rec·​i·​proc·​i·​ty ˌres-ə-ˈpräs-ət-ē How to pronounce reciprocity (audio)
plural reciprocities
: shared dependence, cooperation, or exchange between persons, groups, or states
: an exchange of commercial benefits between countries

Legal Definition


rec·​i·​proc·​i·​ty ˌre-sə-ˈprä-sə-tē How to pronounce reciprocity (audio)
plural reciprocities
: the quality or state of being reciprocal
: the exchange, recognition, or enforcement of licenses, privileges, or obligations between states of the U.S. or between nations
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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