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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.
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 receptacles
  • Sugars, fats and carbohydrates are bagged or boxed in plastic coated receptacles and are sold as food.
  • He rushes to fill the bathtub and other receptacles to last the day.
  • They'd come from selling the replaceable cartridges that sat in each of the waterless receptacles.
  • Cup holder pops off to accommodate larger receptacles.
  • For example, hikers and park users should not throw garbage anywhere except for garbage receptacles.
  • Fishermen will find outdoor receptacles for charging batteries and a bait and tackle shop within walking distance of the motel.
  • There are restrooms, trees, garbage receptacles and lakefront scenery.
  • There are red receptacles marked specifically for the disposal of coals and ashes.
  • Today's devices consist of a large mesh panel on which droplets settle, connected to receptacles that collect drips.
  • People are wonderful receptacles of valuable ideas and information, but they tend to move on, taking their knowledge with them.
British Dictionary definitions for receptacles


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 receptacles



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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receptacles 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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