1 : to give and take mutually
2 : to return in kind or degree
3 : to make a return for something done or given
4 : to move backward and forward alternately
It was kind of Jake to give us a ride to the airport, and we'd like to find a way to reciprocate the favor.
"The covenant only works if each partner, as best as possible, puts the other's needs above his or her own, with the understanding that the other will reciprocate." — David Brooks, The New York Times, 7 Mar. 2017
Did You Know?
Reciprocate, retaliate, requite, and return all 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 ("We reciprocated their hospitality by inviting them to our beach house"). Retaliate usually implies a paying back of an injury or offense in exact kind, often vengefully ("She retaliated by spreading equally nasty rumors about them"). Requite implies a paying back according to one's preference, and often not in an equivalent fashion ("He requited her love with cold indifference"). Return implies simply a paying or giving back ("returned their call" or "return good for evil").
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Fill in the blanks to complete a synonym of reciprocate: re _ _ m _ _ n _ e.VIEW THE ANSWER