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The word receive is considered to be an easy one, according to the Dale-Chall word list, which includes 3000 words that all fourth-grade American students should know and understand.

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Definition of the verb receive

What does receive mean as a doing word?

Receive is one of the top 100 most common verbs. It is used mostly in informational writing, being one of the top 100 most common verbs in informational written English.View more statistics!

verb - inflections: received | receiving | receives

  1. get something; come into possession of
    • examples: receive payment | receive a gift | receive letters from the front | The banks receive the check | They receive more bread | They receive the money
    • syntax:
      Syntactic formulaExample for the syntactic formula
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme]Carmen bought a dress | Carmen obtained the spare part
      [Agent - being or organization] [Verb] [Theme] from [Source]Carmen bought a dress from Diana | Carmen obtained the spare part from Diana

      Verbs of Change of Possession (with the same syntax): accept, accrue, accumulate, appropriate, borrow, cadge, collect, exact, grab, inherit, recover, regain, retrieve, seize, select, snatch.

    • lexical domain: Possession - verbs of buying, selling, owning
    • synonym of receive: have
    • more generic words: acquire / get = come into the possession of something concrete or abstract
    • more specific terms:
      • take in / take up = accept
      • hustle = get by trying hard
      • accept = receive (a report) officially, as from a committee
      • fence = receive stolen goods
      • graduate = receive an academic degree upon completion of one's studies
      • inherit = receive by genetic transmission
  2. receive a specified treatment (abstract)
    • examples: These aspects of civilization do not find expression or receive an interpretation | His movie received a good review
    • lexical domain: Change - verbs of size, temperature change, intensifying, etc.
    • synonyms of receive: find / get / incur / obtain
    • more generic word: change = undergo a change; become different in essence
    • more specific word: take = ascertain or determine by measuring, computing or take a reading from a dial
  3. register (perceptual input)
    • example: They receive the information to them
    • lexical domain: Perceptions - verbs of seeing, hearing, feeling
    • synonym of receive: pick up
    • more generic words: comprehend / perceive = to become aware of through the senses
    • more specific word: hear = receive a communication from someone
  4. go through (mental or physical states or experiences)
  5. express willingness to have in one's home or environs
    • examples: The community warmly received the refugees | Sam cannot receive Sue
    • lexical domain: Contact - verbs of touching, hitting, tying, digging
    • synonyms of receive: invite / take in
    • more specific words:
      • welcome = receive someone, as into one's house
      • absorb = assimilate or take in
      • see = receive as a specified guest
      • assume = take up someone's soul into heaven
      • induct = admit as a member
  6. accept as true or valid
    • example: He received Christ
    • lexical domain: Cognition - verbs of thinking, judging, analyzing, doubting
    • more generic word: accept = consider or hold as true
  7. bid welcome to; greet upon arrival
  8. convert into sounds or pictures
    • example: receive the incoming radio signals
    • lexical domain: Change - verbs of size, temperature change, intensifying, etc.
    • more generic word: convert = change the nature, purpose, or function of something
  9. experience as a reaction
  10. have or give a reception
    • lexical domain: Activities - verbs of political and social activities and events
    • more generic words: celebrate / fete = have a celebration
  11. receive as a retribution or punishment
    • lexical domain: Perceptions - verbs of seeing, hearing, feeling
    • synonym of receive: get
  12. partake of the Holy Eucharist sacrament
  13. regard favorably or with disapproval
    • example: Her new collection of poems was not well received
    • lexical domain: Cognition - verbs of thinking, judging, analyzing, doubting
    • more generic words: consider / reckon / regard / see / view = deem to be

Alternative definition of the verb receive


  1. to get, to be given something while the other party is the active partner (opposite: to obtain).
  2. to take possession of
  3. To act as a host for guests.
  4. To suffer from (an injury)
  5. [telecommunications] To detect a signal from a transmitter.
  6. [sport] To be in a position to take possition, or hit back the ball.
  7. [tennis, badminton, squash] To be in a position to hit back a service.
  8. [American football] To be in a position to catch a forward pass
  9. [transitive, intransitive] To accept into the mind; to understand.


  1. "Receive" is a song by Canadian-American recording artist Alanis Morissette, released as the third single from her eighth studio album, Havoc and Bright Lights. The song was written by Morissette and Guy Sigsworth, and produced by Joe Chiccarelli. It is a rock ballad about a relationship in which one person gives more than the other, and the wear it causes to the people involved.
  2. "Receive" is a musical EP of Gift of Gods.
    • released on
  3. "Receive" is a 2012 single by Alanis Morissette.
    • released on

Printed dictionaries and other books with definitions for Receive

Click on a title to look inside that book (if available):

Google previewBe Happy! (2009)

by Robert Holden

To receive means to know who you are.

To receive is the beginning of creativity in all its forms.

Google previewProbus (1838)

Or, Rome in the Third Century by William Ware

They pretend not to know, nor to be able to explain to another, why, if what they receive is the truth and they are true believers in a true religion, they should be exposed to such sufferings for its sake; and that which is false, and injurious as ...

Google previewEthnic Groups of Europe: An Encyclopedia (2011)

An Encyclopedia by Jeffrey E. Cole

Thus Monegasques, the 5,000 or so passport holders of tiny Monaco, do not receive an entry. Whenever possible, small groups receive mention in treatments of larger, related groups, as in the case of the Ramaniotes (Greek-speaking Jews ) ...

Google previewThe Encyclopedia of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, 2 Volume Set (2010)

by John Anthony McGuckin

Othen/vise we cannot worthily receive the Communion even once a year, as some do, who live in monasteries and hold the dignity and holiness and value of the heavenly sacraments in such high regard as to think that none but saints and ...

Google previewThe Sporting Dictionary and Rural Repository of General Information Upon Every Subject Appertaining to the Sports of the Field (1803)

by William Taplin

Lameness in this part can receive no assistance from bandage; fomentation, embrocation, and rest, arc the only ...

Online dictionaries and encyclopedias with entries for Receive

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Usage statistics about receive

The following statistics are based on the British National Corpus, so they are representative for the British English from the later part of the 20th century, both spoken and written.

Usage statistics for the verb receive:

spoken English27.47%written English72.53% conversational speech13.14%task-oriented speech86.86% imaginative writing22.75%informational writing77.25%

Distribution of usage frequency for the most common synonyms of the verb receive:


Photos about Receive

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Small photo of Successful fashion designer happy to receive positive answer from the customers by a mobile phone. Asian student girl received email from the university that she passed all the exams well.Small photo of man receive delivering packageSmall photo of man receive delivering packageSmall photo of man receive delivering packageSmall photo of man receive delivering packageSmall photo of man receive delivering packageSmall photo of Belarus, the city of Gomel on February 28, 2018. Entertainment center in the Gomel hypermarket.The child opens the gift.Children's joy from the received birthday present. To receive a prize More...

Video language resources about Receive

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See also the pronunciation examples of Receive!

Sign language

Open Your Hands and Your Heart to receive Christ / American Sign Language

Quotes about Receive

When you are in a state of nonacceptance, it's difficult to learn. A clenched fist cannot receive a gift, and a clenched psyche grasped tightly against the reality of what must not be accepted cannot easily receive a lesson. (Roger John)
more quotes about receive...

Scrabble value of R1E1C3E1I1V4E1

The value of this 7-letter word is 12 points. It is included in the first and second editions of the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary.

Anagrams of RECEIVE

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