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[ri-sep-tuh-kuh l] /rɪˈsɛp tə kəl/
a container, device, etc., that receives or holds something:
a receptacle for trash.
Botany. the modified or expanded portion of the stem or axis that bears the organs of a single flower or the florets of a flower head.
Electricity. a contact device installed at an outlet for the connection of a portable lamp, appliance, or other electric device by means of a plug and flexible cord.
Origin of receptacle
1375-1425; Middle English (< Old French) < Latin receptāculum reservoir, equivalent to receptā(re) to take again, receive back (frequentative of recipere to receive) + -culum -cle2 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for receptacle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The Constitution is neither a legislative crazy-quilt nor a receptacle of fads.

    'Tis Sixty Years Since Charles Francis Adams
  • But now a third kind is required, which I shall call the receptacle or nurse of generation.

    Timaeus Plato
  • We reply, that it is the receptacle, and in a manner the nurse, of all generation.

    Timaeus Plato
  • Arriving at the grave, the casket was let down into the receptacle prepared for it.

  • We had also a receptacle for beehives, and an ancient sepulchre.

  • But in Greek theca (, θήκη) is a place to put something, a receptacle.

    The Hindu-Arabic Numerals David Eugene Smith
  • It assumes that he is a receptacle into which the desired message may be poured.

    Herein is Love

    Reuel L. Howe
  • The dust is then driven by a fan into a receptacle provided for that purpose.


    William H. Dooley
  • This particular hole was selected as the receptacle for the gold.

    Freaks of Fortune Oliver Optic
British Dictionary definitions for receptacle


an object that holds something; container
  1. the enlarged or modified tip of the flower stalk that bears the parts of the flower
  2. the shortened flattened stem bearing the florets of the capitulum of composite flowers such as the daisy
  3. the part of lower plants that bears the reproductive organs or spores
Word Origin
C15: from Latin receptāculum a store-place, from receptāre to receive again, from recipere to receive
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 receptacle

late 14c., from Old French receptacle (14c.) and directly from Latin receptaculum "place to receive and store things," from receptare, frequentative of recipere "to hold, contain" (see receive). As an adjectival form, receptacular (1847) has been used.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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receptacle in Science
The enlarged upper end of a flower stalk that bears the flower or group of flowers. The fleshy edible part of an apple is actually a modified receptacle. See more at flower.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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