[ree-kuh-pich-uh-ley-shuh n]


the act of recapitulating or the state of being recapitulated.
a brief review or summary, as of a speech.
Biology. the theory that the stages an organism passes through during its embryonic development repeat the evolutionary stages of structural change in its ancestral lineage.
Music. the modified restatement of the exposition following the development section in a sonata-form movement.

Origin of recapitulation

1350–1400; Middle English recapitulacioun < Late Latin recapitulātiōn- (stem of recapitulātiō), equivalent to recapitulāt(us) (see recapitulate) + -iōn- -ion
Related formsre·ca·pit·u·la·tive, re·ca·pit·u·la·to·ry [ree-kuh-pich-uh-luh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /ˌri kəˈpɪtʃ ə ləˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for recapitulation

summary, peroration, reprise

Examples from the Web for recapitulation

Historical Examples of recapitulation

  • The revelation of another life is a recapitulation of the argument in a figure.



  • It was interesting, but I should have preferred to edit the recapitulation.

  • Haeckel was not the original discoverer of the law of recapitulation.

    Form and Function

    E. S. (Edward Stuart) Russell

  • But wherefore this recapitulation of everything I know so well already?

    Wagner, the Wehr-Wolf

    George W. M. Reynolds

  • This succinct exposé may be useful as a recapitulation of the argument.

British Dictionary definitions for recapitulation



the act of recapitulating, esp summing up, as at the end of a speech
Also called: palingenesis biology the apparent repetition in the embryonic development of an animal of the changes that occurred during its evolutionary historyCompare caenogenesis
music the repeating of earlier themes, esp when forming the final section of a movement in sonata form
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 recapitulation

late 14c., "a summarizing," from Old French recapitulacion (13c.), from Late Latin recapitulationem (nominative recapitulatio), noun of action from past participle stem of recapitulare "go over the main points of a thing again," literally "restate by heads or chapters," from re- "again" (see re-) + capitulum "main part" (see chapter).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper