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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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for receptacle
  • Fashion the receptacle with a bottom that attaches onto the garbage disposal of a sink.
  • Remove the cover plate and the screws fastening the receptacle to the outlet box inside the wall.
  • Rinse bottles and remove the labels before placing them in your recycling receptacle.
  • Now disable the receptacle sensor so the machine still functions.
  • Remove the receptacle's cover plate, then unscrew and remove the receptacle from the outlet box inside the wall.
  • Secular civil society was more receptacle and supportive for religious minorities not creating any problems for them.
  • Griffin's first invention was called the portable receptacle support.
  • Each transformer was submerged in oil inside a steel receptacle surrounded by a wood frame.
  • From the local plumbing store, they bought an electrical junction box to use as the receptacle.
  • In finished rooms, the box may also serve as a light receptacle or switch.
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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