Definition of reciprocate in English:

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Pronunciation: /rɪˈsɪprəkeɪt/


1 [with object] Respond to (a gesture or action) by making a corresponding one: the favour 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 favour;
give as good as one gets, give tit for tat
1.1Feel (affection or love) for someone in the same way that they feel it 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, feel/give in return, repay, give back;
match, equal
2 [no object] (usually as adjective reciprocating) (Of a part of a machine) move backwards and forwards 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: /rɪsɪprəˈkeɪʃ(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.


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

Line breaks: re|cip¦ro|cate

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