rec·​i·​ta·​tion | \ ˌre-sə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce recitation (audio) \

Definition of recitation

1 : the act of enumerating a recitation of relevant details
2 : the act or an instance of reading or repeating aloud especially publicly
3a : a student's oral reply to questions
b : a class period especially in association with and for review of a lecture

Examples of recitation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web When lectures began to displace recitation, some college presidents worried aloud about the problem of keeping students actively engaged throughout the class session. Randall Stross, WSJ, "‘The Amateur Hour’ Review: Hire Teachers for Higher Education," 14 Dec. 2020 The original Robinson plaque included a boilerplate recitation of statistics, citing him as a four-time league leader in double plays by a second baseman but making no mention of integrating the major leagues, as his new plaque does. New York Times, "The Hall of Fame Tries to Contextualize Baseball’s Racist Past," 21 Dec. 2020 As a child growing up in a Muslim household, Ali — who was born in the U.K. and raised in Canada and the U.S. — found poetry in the recitation of the Quranand other religious texts. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Why UCSD’s Kazim Ali wants to put some poetry into your life," 21 Nov. 2020 This is no mere recitation of which politicians won their respective races. Clancy Dubos,, "Clancy DuBos: Calling Da Winnas & Da Loozas of the 2020 election," 9 Nov. 2020 The pope made the announcement from a window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, following his customary recitation of the noon Angelus prayer. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Pope Francis Names Wilton Gregory as First Black American Cardinal," 25 Oct. 2020 What a liberal audience might wish were gaffes—such as the missing constitutional freedom in Barrett’s recitation of First Amendment protections—registered, on her face, as mildly amusing at best. Lauren Michele Jackson, The New Yorker, "The Racial Politics of Kamala Harris’s Performance Style," 17 Oct. 2020 John, who was almost as impatient as his kid brother Bill, eyed the file warily, fearful perhaps that I was primed for a marathon recitation of dark family episodes. Neal B. Freeman, National Review, "The Unexpurgated Jim Buckley," 5 Oct. 2020 The low point of the presentation for this president in this address was a meandering recitation of too-often too-inside accomplishments. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Trump's pitch for re-election: Michigan political experts weigh in on convention speech," 28 Aug. 2020

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of recitation was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

19 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Recitation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for recitation


How to pronounce recitation (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of recitation

: the act of saying or repeating something out loud for an audience
: the act of describing or listing many things in a series


rec·​i·​ta·​tion | \ ˌre-sə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce recitation (audio) \

Kids Definition of recitation

1 : the act or an instance of saying something out loud
2 : the act of saying something in a particular order

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