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verb (used with object), re·ca·pit·u·lated, re·ca·pit·u·lat·ing.
  1. to review by a brief summary, as at the end of a speech or discussion; summarize.
  2. Biology. (of an organism) to repeat (ancestral evolutionary stages) in its development.
  3. Music. to restate (the exposition) in a sonata-form movement.
verb (used without object), re·ca·pit·u·lated, re·ca·pit·u·lat·ing.
  1. to sum up statements or matters.

Origin of recapitulate

1560–70; < Late Latin recapitulātus (past participle of recapitulāre), equivalent to re- re- + capitulātus; see capitulate
Can be confusedcapitulate recapitulate

Synonyms for recapitulate

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1. See repeat. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for recapitulate

Historical Examples of recapitulate

  • He shook his head and mournfully began to recapitulate the day he had just spent.


    Emile Zola

  • Like Socrates, we may recapitulate the virtues of the philosopher.

  • And here let me recapitulate—for there is no harm in repetition.



  • So that there may be no misunderstandings, I will recapitulate.

    Captain Blood

    Rafael Sabatini

  • He was impelled to recapitulate his injunctions; but he forbore.

    The Lion's Skin

    Rafael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for recapitulate


  1. to restate the main points of (an argument, speech, etc); summarize
  2. (tr) (of an animal) to repeat (stages of its evolutionary development) during the embryonic stages of its life
  3. to repeat at some point during a piece of music (material used earlier in the same work)
Derived Formsrecapitulative or recapitulatory, adjective

Word Origin for recapitulate

C16: from Late Latin recapitulāre, literally: to put back under headings; see capitulate
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

Word Origin and History for recapitulate

1560s, back-formation from recapitulation and also from Late Latin recapitulatus, past participle of recapitulare. Related: Recapitulated; recapitulating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper