Definition of recapitulate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌrēkəˈpiCHəˌlāt/


[with object]
1Summarize and state again the main points of: he began to recapitulate his argument with care
More example sentences
  • The conclusion recapitulates and summarizes the main findings of the work.
  • They are not sincere, he says, and he does not even bother to recapitulate their arguments or try to refute them.
  • Let us begin by briefly recapitulating the novel's plot.
summarize, sum up;
restate, repeat, reiterate, go over, review
informal recap
1.1 Biology Repeat (an evolutionary or other process) during development and growth.
Example sentences
  • We used to learn in high-school biology that ‘ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny’: The development of each individual human being resembles the evolution of the species.
  • In embryology, we see that ‘ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny’; that the human embryo goes through phases in development that reflect evolutionary changes from earlier vertebrates such as fish.
  • Hall believed that children recapitulate stages of human evolution as they grow from infants to adults.



Pronunciation: /-ləˌtôrē/
Example sentences
  • Under von Baer's reading, a human embryo grows gill slits not because we evolved from an adult fish (Haeckel's recapitulatory explanation) but because all vertebrates begin their embryological lives with gills.
  • It now sets out, for each subprogramme, a budget table, the salient features of certain programme elements and a recapitulatory list of the main activities implemented or in process of implementation.
  • However, I should like to refer readers to a recent UNESCO document which presents a recapitulatory table - not of what the Organization has accomplished in this field in the last forty years or so, but rather of the specific activities it plans to carry out in its Programme for 1992-1993.


Late 16th century: from late Latin recapitulat- 'gone through heading by heading', from re- 'again' + capitulum 'chapter' (diminutive of caput 'head').

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·ca·pit·u·late

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