Definition of reciprocal in English:

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Pronunciation: /rəˈsiprək(ə)l/


1Given, felt, or done in return: she was hoping for some reciprocal comment or gesture
More example sentences
  • Britons have resented, sometimes bitterly, that the US administration does not appear interested in reciprocal support for Britain's agenda in international affairs.
  • There were calls among Unionists and Nationalists for the Loyalist groups to follow suit, but Ervine said they did not feel under pressure to make a reciprocal gesture.
  • Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen were quick to welcome the remarks as very helpful and signalled their intention to try and get Sinn Fein and the IRA to make some reciprocal gesture of good faith.
given/felt in return, requited, reciprocated
2(Of an agreement or obligation) bearing on or binding each of two parties equally: the treaty is a bilateral commitment with reciprocal rights and duties
More example sentences
  • And he hopes that the surprise move to open up UK media franchises to American companies means that the UK government is close to getting a reciprocal agreement from the US.
  • The plan came unstuck when the Department of Health said medical charges could not be waived as Britain did not have a reciprocal agreement with the west African country to treat its residents.
  • But you will only qualify for any pension increases after you retire if you go to live in a country with which we have a reciprocal agreement.
mutual, common, shared, joint, corresponding, complementary
2.1 Grammar (Of a pronoun or verb) expressing mutual action or relationship.
Example sentences
  • With reciprocal verbs, there are two or more subjects which are acting on each other.
  • Finally, Russian contains a set of reciprocal pronouns corresponding to English ‘each other’.
  • While our data supports the traditional view of each other as the primary and most common reciprocal construction in English, we find a greater degree of variation in construction types than this traditional view might suggest.
3(Of a course or bearing) differing from a given course or bearing by 180 degrees.
Example sentences
  • Navigators in the open sea normally alter course in this way because they believe there is another vessel dead ahead on a reciprocal course or on their port bow in circumstances which require an alteration to starboard.
  • I explained to him that I needed to turn around and fly a reciprocal course to re-establish communication with a soldier in distress.
4 Mathematics (Of a quantity or function) related to another so that their product is one.
Example sentences
  • We still have their reciprocal tables going up to the reciprocals of numbers up to several billion.
  • Each trigonometric function has a reciprocal function.
  • The reciprocal function is its own inverse, which might seem to pose a problem in using Newton's method.


1 technical A mathematical expression or function so related to another that their product is one; the quantity obtained by dividing the number one by a given quantity.
Example sentences
  • Let's work out our problem using the reciprocal of the numerator fraction.
  • There is also a simple way to find the reciprocal of a continued fraction.
  • Well, since the denominator becomes 1 using our method, you wind up with just the numerator multiplied by the reciprocal of the denominator.
2 Grammar A pronoun or verb expressing mutual action or relationship, e.g., each other, fight.
Example sentences
  • In English, we often omit the ‘each other’, but in Italian, when the action is shared among two or more people and re-directed amongst them, then the reciprocal should be used.
  • From the point of view of present-day English the most interesting aspect of reciprocals seems to be whether there is a difference between ‘each other’ and ‘one another’.



Pronunciation: /rəˌsiprəˈkalədē/
Example sentences
  • Negotiating the the degree of reciprocality and obligation involved in linking elsewhere (and in being linked too, I suppose) is way beyond me at this point.
  • Embracing the reciprocality of respectful deliberation means rejecting majoritarian procedures in favour of protecting the rights and interests of minorities, particularly those that lack power.
  • The hopeless oscillation of question-answer-question is like a figuring of confinement: bouncing off each other in a rigid reciprocality where neither party is able to move.


Pronunciation: /rəˈsiprək(ə)lē/ Pronunciation: /rēˈsiprək(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • The energy of attraction between opposite charges is reciprocally related to the distance between the charges.
  • In any case, can a German feel European unilaterally, without the Portuguese (for example) similarly and reciprocally feeling European rather than Portuguese?
  • For some critics Peer review is a pale shadow of African heads of states' real promise: to criticise each other reciprocally and to exercise peer pressure in order to gain democracy and respect for human rights.


Late 16th century: from Latin reciprocus (based on re- 'back' + pro- 'forward') + -al.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·cip·ro·cal

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