Definition of receive in English:

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Pronunciation: /rɪˈsiːv/


[with object]
1Be given, presented with, or paid (something): the band will receive a £100,000 advance she received her prize from the manager
More example sentences
  • Sir - I was saddened to read the story in last week's Western People about people who abandon pets after receiving them as Christmas presents.
  • The award winner receives a medallion presented in an attractive protective pouch and a certificate.
  • Anyone who earns money or receives income should pay taxes and the truth is, everyone does pay taxes.
be given, be presented with, be awarded, collect, accept, have conferred on one;
get, obtain, gain, acquire, secure, come by, pick up, be provided with, take;
win, be paid, earn, gross, net, accrue;
inherit, come into
informal cop
1.1Take delivery of (something sent or communicated): he received fifty enquiries after advertising the job
More example sentences
  • These are my ideas so far, but any further contributions will be gratefully received.
  • A letter confirming the ballot paper would be sent out was also received yesterday.
  • You might have noticed it when sending and receiving Christmas cards last month.
be sent, be in receipt of;
accept delivery of, accept, take into one's possession
be told, be informed of, be notified of, be made aware of, hear, discover, find out (about), learn, gather, get wind of
1.2Consent to hear (an oath or confession): he failed to find a magistrate to receive his oath
More example sentences
  • I will allow this evidence to be received as its probative value clearly outweighs its prejudicial effect.
  • He provided two reliquaries on which to receive their oaths - one for his magnates, splendidly fabricated of crystal and gold, but entirely empty, the other for the common herd, plainer and enshrining a bird's egg.
1.3Buy or accept goods known to be stolen: he was deprived of his licence for receiving a stolen load of whisky
More example sentences
  • A 53-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman were last night charged with receiving stolen property in connection with the robbery.
  • Police Captain Blackie Swart confirmed that a scrapyard employee was to appear in court today for receiving stolen property.
  • Within a year of his return he was sentenced to hard labour at Newcastle for receiving stolen property.
2Suffer, experience, or be subject to (specified treatment): the event received wide press coverage she received only cuts and bruises
More example sentences
  • Even though we have therapies, many people continue to experience pain despite receiving treatment.
  • He is now out of prison and receiving treatment for alcoholism.
  • In all countries where such programs are available, a user who has been receiving treatment outside the prison setting can continue doing so inside.
experience, sustain, undergo, meet with, encounter, go through, be subjected to, come in for;
suffer, bear, endure
2.1 [with object and adverbial] Respond to (something) in a specified way: her first poem was not well received
More example sentences
  • Enthusiastically receiving the rules and given free rein to be as chauvinistic as they like, the five men meet in the pub to think up some new rules of their own.
  • Violin solos by Mr Jenkins and solos by other instrumentalists were enthusiastically received.
  • Even the Duchy quarterly The Cornish Banner received the book enthusiastically.
2.2Meet and have to withstand: the landward slopes receive the full force of the wind
More example sentences
  • Richardson, who was on the front seat of the vehicle beside the driver, received the full force of the collision.
  • For example, each barrier island has a shoreline that faces the sea and receives the full force of waves, tides, and currents.
  • The outer edge of the reef receives the full force of breaking waves, protecting the inner Australian shoreline.
2.3Meet with (a specified reaction): the rulings have received widespread acceptance
More example sentences
  • In my first time overseas I am receiving a completely different reaction to my nationality than my seasoned traveller friends told me to expect.
  • Plans for the redevelopment of a public house in Chiswick were unveiled last week and received an almost unprecedented reaction.
  • Ms Selby has received a very positive reaction from the vast majority of employers she has encountered.
2.4 (as adjective received) Widely accepted as authoritative or true: the myths and received wisdom about the country’s past
More example sentences
  • We're programmed to accept this received opinion as the god-honest truth.
  • As a matter of fact, I did, but it came as quite a shock to discover that I was just as guilty of accepting received wisdom as fact as the next man.
  • But then, overdosing on received wisdom and political correctness does tend to result in irony deficiency.
3Greet or welcome (a visitor) formally: representatives of the club will be received by the Mayor
More example sentences
  • Not until 1600 did Elizabeth consent to receive him at court.
  • Heads of State on official visits to France, mayors of major cities and prominent figures are received at the City Hall by the Mayor and the Council of Paris.
  • On his recent visit to New Zealand, he was received by our government officials.
greet, welcome, say hello to, show in, usher in, admit, let in
3.1Be visited by: she was not allowed to receive visitors
More example sentences
  • She described the large house, trimmed hedges, her uniform, and the mother who dressed elegantly to receive and visit friends for lunch.
  • She loved people and she was always most welcoming in receiving visitors into our home.
  • She has lost contact with her family and receives no other visitors.
entertain, be at home to
3.2Admit as a member: hundreds of converts were received into the Church
More example sentences
  • After she recovered, she was received into the Catholic Church.
  • According to Catholic custom, they receive a special name and are received into the Church.
  • With Newman's guidance, he was received into the Roman Catholic Church in 1866.
4Form (an idea or impression) as a result of perception or experience: the impression she received was one of unhurried leisure
More example sentences
  • It can only generate new ideas by receiving new impressions.
  • The eye receives an impression in a very minute fraction of a second.
  • We receive the impression that belief in the existence of God is based entirely upon these proofs.
5Detect or pick up (broadcast signals): the systems work by comparing time signals received from different satellites
More example sentences
  • As transmitters are switched on and new areas receive BBC digital radio broadcasts the postcode checker on the website will also be updated.
  • Scares about mobile phones have centred on two areas - the handsets and the base stations, whose antennae receive and broadcast signals.
  • Listeners will continue to receive BBC World Service programmes in English from 21.00 to 05.00.
6Serve as a receptacle for: the basin that receives your blood
More example sentences
  • The flag should never be used as a receptacle for receiving, holding, carrying, or delivering anything.
  • Each tube received an aliquot of 100 ml of sodium fluoride solution (20 mg/l) and was sealed and shaken in a bath maintained at 298 K for 3 hours.
6.1Provide space or accommodation for: the remaining lines receive the general rolling stock
More example sentences
  • A second connector housing is provided for receiving a second optical fiber plug.
  • The front of the housing is open, while the rear of the housing has a rear wall with a slot that receives the contact unit.
7(In tennis and similar games) be the player to whom the server serves (the ball).
Example sentences
  • In also receiving the ball, a tennis player, in order to return the ball effectively, must ascertain the type of spin which has been imparted to the ball so as to be able to compensate in the return stroke for the spin or rotation of the ball in flight during trajectory.
  • The player served to is the only player allowed to receive the serve.
  • Unlike other racquet sports like squash or racquetball, in tennis, a point can be made by the server or by the player receiving the serve.
8Eat or drink (the Eucharistic bread or wine): he received Communion and left
More example sentences
  • Ten percent said ‘you are receiving bread and wine, in which Jesus is really and truly present.’
  • He had ignited a controversy over the Eucharist, claiming the right for the laity to receive both the bread and the wine at Mass.
  • It also states that as the two churches share the same beliefs about the presence of Christ in communion, Anglicans should not be excluded from receiving the Roman Eucharist.


be at (or on) the receiving end

informal Be subjected to something: she found herself on the receiving end of a good deal of teasing
More example sentences
  • Those that have been on the receiving end of calls say the scam is being performed very professionally.


Middle English: from Anglo-Norman French receivre, based on Latin recipere, from re- 'back' + capere 'take'.

  • capable from mid 16th century:

    The first recorded sense of this was ‘able to take in’, physically or mentally. It comes from Latin capere ‘take or hold’ which is found in many other English words including: accept (Late Middle English) from ad- ‘to’ and capere; anticipation (Late Middle English) ‘acting or taking in advance’; capacity (Late Middle English) ‘ability to hold’; caption (Late Middle English) originally an act of capture; captive (Late Middle English); catch (Middle English); chase (Middle English); conceive (Middle English) literally ‘take together’; except (Late Middle English) ‘take out of’; incapacity (early 17th century) inability to hold; intercept (Late Middle English) to take between; perceive (Middle English) to hold entirely; prince; receive (Middle English) ‘take back’; susceptible (early 17th century) literally ‘that can be taken from below’.

Words that rhyme with receive

achieve, believe, breve, cleave, conceive, deceive, eve, greave, grieve, heave, interleave, interweave, khedive, leave, misconceive, naive, Neve, peeve, perceive, reave, reive, relieve, reprieve, retrieve, sheave, sleeve, steeve, Steve, Tananarive, Tel Aviv, thieve, underachieve, upheave, weave, we've, Yves

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: re|ceive

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