Definition of receptacle in English:

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Pronunciation: /rɪˈsɛptək(ə)l/


1A hollow object used to contain something: fast-food receptacles
More example sentences
  • I have heard and read time and again the advice that parents should not let their children simply be passive receptacles for what streams out of the television set, but discuss with them what they are seeing and have seen.
  • Giant jerry cans turn into receptacles for rainwater harvesting.
  • He is no Richard Dawkins, gleefully machine-gunning religion while crying that we are merely receptacles for our genes.
container, holder, vessel, repository;
box, tin, bin, can, canister, drum, case, chest, casket, crate, tank;
basin, pan, pot, dish, bowl;
bag, pouch, purse, basket
archaic reservatory
2North American An electrical socket.
Example sentences
  • In new home construction, plan to locate an electrical receptacle and coaxial cable and speaker cable outlets behind the TV.
  • Be sure ground fault circuit interrupters are specified for all electrical receptacles.
  • Also measure and locate windows and doors, as well as outside faucets, lights, and electrical receptacles.
3chiefly Zoology An organ or structure which receives a secretion, eggs, sperm, etc.
Example sentences
  • Females mate with multiple males and store the collection of sperm in the seminal receptacle and the paired spermathecae for later use in fertilizing eggs.
  • If all goes well, the male lobster soon embraces his mate firmly, assumes a posture suggestive of the missionary position, and deposits his sperm inside an egg receptacle near her tail.
  • During copulation, he deposits sperm into her sperm receptacle and places a plug in it, perhaps to retain his sperm or prevent other males from mating with her.
4 Botany An enlarged area at the apex of a stem on which the parts of a flower or the florets of a flower head are inserted.
Example sentences
  • The strawberry you eat isn't really a fruit at all, but the enlarged receptacle of the flower - a member of the rose family.
  • Deer remove the whole flower or the full complement of follicles plus the receptacle, leaving only the cut pedicel.
  • Petal length was measured as the length of the petal from its apex to its adaxial junction with the receptacle.
4.1A structure supporting the sexual organs in some algae, mosses, and liverworts.
Example sentences
  • The receptacle remains on the thallus surface until the receptacle's sporophytes approach maturity.
  • Just beneath the surface of receptacles are spherical cavities called conceptacles where gametes are produced.


Late Middle English: from Latin receptaculum, from receptare 'receive back', frequentative of recipere (see receive).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: re|cep|tacle

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