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[ri-sep-shuh-nist] /rɪˈsɛp ʃə nɪst/
a person employed to receive and assist callers, clients, etc., as in an office.
Theology. a person who advocates receptionism.
1865-70; reception + -ist Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for receptionist
  • The lobby of the center holds the receptionist's desk, a couch and several information racks.
  • Arriving late to our lodge, a bat circles the night receptionist's face, inches away.
  • B call your doctor and beg the receptionist for an urgent appointment.
  • The receptionist became carefully calm, saying that she would speak to the doctor.
  • Sure, if you think a glorified telephone receptionist is groundbreaking.
  • That's how many different billing systems my immunologist's receptionist deals with.
  • Our receptionist is told to order sandwiches for lunch.
  • She was a beautician for a while, and a receptionist, but she was experiencing mounting problems with her body.
  • The receptionist can choose to give every new guest an odd-numbered room.
  • Prince slipped out of town and let the receptionist answer questions.
British Dictionary definitions for receptionist


a person employed in an office, hotel, doctor's surgery, etc, to receive clients, guests, or patients, answer the telephone, arrange appointments, etc
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 receptionist

"person hired to receive clients in an office," 1900, from reception + -ist. Originally in photography studios.

Let me not forget the receptionist -- generally and preferably, a woman of refined and gentle manners, well informed and specially gifted in handling people of varied dispositions. A woman especially who knows how to handle other women, and who can make herself beloved by the children who may visit the studio. A woman, also, who in a thoroughly suave and dignified way, knows just how to handle the young man of the period so that the photographer may be glad to have his business. What a power the receptionist is when properly chosen and trained. It is not too much to say that she can both make and destroy a business, if she has the amount of discretionary power given to her in some galleries. [John A. Tennant, "Business Methods Applied in Photography," "Wilson's Photographic Magazine," October 1900]
Earlier as an adjective in theology and law (1867).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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