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[ri-sip-ruh-kuh l] /rɪˈsɪp rə kəl/
given or felt by each toward the other; mutual:
reciprocal respect.
given, performed, felt, etc., in return:
reciprocal aid.
corresponding; matching; complementary; equivalent:
reciprocal privileges at other health clubs.
Grammar. (of a pronoun or verb) expressing mutual relationship or action:
“Each other” and “one another” are reciprocal pronouns.
inversely related or proportional; opposite.
Mathematics. noting expressions, relations, etc., involving reciprocals:
a reciprocal function.
Navigation. bearing in a direction 180° to a given direction; back.
something that is reciprocal to something else; equivalent; counterpart; complement.
Also called multiplicative inverse. Mathematics. the ratio of unity to a given quantity or expression; that by which the given quantity or expression is multiplied to produce unity:
The reciprocal of x is 1/x.
Origin of reciprocal
1560-70; < Latin reciproc(us) returning, reciprocal + -al1
Related forms
reciprocality, reciprocalness, noun
reciprocally, adverb
nonreciprocal, adjective, noun
nonreciprocally, adverb
unreciprocal, adjective
unreciprocally, adverb
Can be confused
mutual, reciprocal (see synonym study at mutual)
common, mutual, reciprocal (see usage note at mutual)
Synonym Study
1. See mutual. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for nonreciprocal


of, relating to, or designating something given by each of two people, countries, etc, to the other; mutual: reciprocal friendship, reciprocal trade
given or done in return: a reciprocal favour
(of a pronoun) indicating that action is given and received by each subject; for example, each other in the sentence they started to shout at each other
(maths) of or relating to a number or quantity divided into one
(nautical) denoting a course or bearing that is 180° from the previous or assumed one
something that is reciprocal
(maths) Also called inverse. a number or quantity that when multiplied by a given number or quantity gives a product of one: the reciprocal of 2 is 0.5
Derived Forms
reciprocality, noun
reciprocally, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin reciprocus alternating
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nonreciprocal



1560s, with -al (1) + stem of Latin reciprocus "returning the same way, alternating," from pre-Latin *reco-proco-, from *recus (from re- "back;" see re-, + -cus, adjective formation) + *procus (from pro- "forward;" see pro-, + -cus. Related: Reciprocally. The noun meaning "that which is reciprocal" (to another) is from 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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nonreciprocal in Medicine

reciprocal re·cip·ro·cal (rĭ-sĭp'rə-kəl)

  1. Of or relating to a neuromuscular phenomenon in which the excitation of one group of muscles is accompanied by the inhibition of another.

  2. Of or being a pair of crosses in which the male parent in one cross is of the same genotype or phenotype as the female parent in the other cross.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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nonreciprocal in Science
Either of a pair of numbers whose product is 1. For example, the number 3 is the reciprocal of 1/3 .
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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nonreciprocal in Culture

reciprocal definition

The number by which a given number must be multiplied to get a result of one. The reciprocal of one-half, for example, is two.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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