Definition of reciprocate in English:

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Pronunciation: /rəˈsiprəˌkāt/


1 [with object] Respond to (a gesture or action) by making a corresponding one: the favor was reciprocated [no object]: perhaps I was expected to reciprocate with some remark of my own
More example sentences
  • He flatters, massages their egos, tells them that they are statesmen, hints at his own ability to further their careers, provided the gesture is reciprocated.
  • This was a phenomenal break for the band and they reciprocated the gesture with an astounding and memorable performance.
  • What I did was to reciprocate the gesture he made to me.
do the same (in return), respond in kind, return the favor
1.1Experience the same (love, liking, or affection) for someone as that person does for oneself: her passion for him was not reciprocated
More example sentences
  • Because she then realized that her husband was madly in love with another woman, and that his love was reciprocated.
  • But when his love was not reciprocated he turned from admirer to stalker, Harrogate magistrates were told.
  • When the love isn't reciprocated, the man has a breakdown of sorts and sells pictures of her smoking heroin to a newspaper, and there's a bit of a fight that we don't see.
requite, return, give back;
match, equal
2 [no object] (usually as adjective reciprocating) (Of a part of a machine) move backward and forward in a straight line: a reciprocating blade
More example sentences
  • The pruning machines were simply reciprocating cutters or flails mounted on a tractor.
  • Unlike a piston engine, where reciprocating parts move up and down, the twin rotors in the Mazda just spin around.
  • Lighter reciprocating and rotating parts were used and counterbalancing improved.



Pronunciation: /rəˌsiprəˈkāSH(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • ‘I've got some grapes in my car,’ I offered gallantly, assuming that she would offer something in reciprocation, but she didn't even seem mildly interested in my grapes.
  • Our capacities for reciprocation, generosity, care, tactility, expression, thoughtfulness and all the other attributes which light up our eyes may well not be enough for another.
  • As there as yet has been no real reciprocation from the EU's trading partners, agreement on market access still is a long way off.


Pronunciation: /-ˌkātər/
Example sentences
  • Sociobiology shows that individuals who acted in altruistic ways, especially toward kin and reciprocators, were over the long run more successful in Darwinian terms than were their more stingy counterparts.
  • In a few cases, information alone may be effective; in other cases, playing on our evolutionary history as social reciprocators may help.
  • Voluntary payments promote what is in effect, indiscriminatory pricing, assuming reciprocators can choose the size of their gift.


Late 16th century: from Latin reciprocat- 'moved backwards and forwards'from the verb reciprocare, from reciprocus (see reciprocal).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·cip·ro·cate

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