Definition of receptacle in English:



  • 1A hollow object used to contain something.

    ‘fast-food receptacles’
    • ‘As receptacles for the collected cultural artifacts and products of human endeavor, libraries, archives, museums, and heritage attractions form an important part of cultural life and activity.’
    • ‘And thank you for putting your trash in the proper receptacles.’
    • ‘We are merely receptacles for what Hollywood, the music industry and even our local daily newspaper decide we should view, hear or read.’
    • ‘Where smoking is permitted, provide proper receptacles for smoking materials.’
    • ‘The stage is dominated by a series of receptacles, from drinking glasses and delicate bowls to three large bins big enough to wade in.’
    • ‘Create permanent receptacles for ongoing paperwork and for supplies.’
    • ‘Watering cans, buckets and other receptacles containing stagnant water are not supposed to be left standing in tropical Singapore to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses like dengue fever.’
    • ‘Nests are built by animals from a variety of taxa, and serve as receptacles for eggs and developing offspring.’
    • ‘Also, if there are no trash receptacles, where do you put the used napkins and plates?’
    • ‘I have heard and read time and again the advice that parents should not let their children simply be passive receptacles for what streams out of the television set, but discuss with them what they are seeing and have seen.’
    • ‘Be sure to take plenty of receptacles for housing the bait.’
    • ‘Weaving is used for house walls, fences, roofs, baskets, mats, traps, table mats, cushions, and receptacles for drink and food.’
    • ‘In the 17th century the colonies were seen in Britain as receptacles for a surplus population.’
    • ‘There was a long queue of people carrying various receptacles: plastic bottles, watering cans, jugs, pots, crates.’
    • ‘Monkeys, who carry dangerous diseases, are attracted to the overflowing trash receptacles.’
    • ‘Giant jerry cans turn into receptacles for rainwater harvesting.’
    • ‘All bottles and receptacles are made of plastic.’
    • ‘Placing food scraps in sealed trash receptacles also will help discourage scavenging activities.’
    • ‘He is no Richard Dawkins, gleefully machine-gunning religion while crying that we are merely receptacles for our genes.’
    • ‘Witisak pointed out that many of the trash receptacles along the beach were no longer serviceable and needed to be replaced.’
    container, holder, vessel, repository
    View synonyms
  • 2North American An electrical socket.

    • ‘Always unplug the cord from the receptacle before disengaging it from the compressor.’
    • ‘Then you can simply screw the duplex receptacle onto the electrical box with the screws provided.’
    • ‘Also, look for frayed cords, and don't forget to test outdoor electrical receptacles.’
    • ‘If you must use an extension cord, be sure it has a three-hole receptacle and three-prong plug for grounding.’
    • ‘Be sure to plug the pump into a receptacle protected with a ground fault circuit interrupter.’
    • ‘The two unused screws will be your starting point for wiring to the new receptacle.’
    • ‘Also measure and locate windows and doors, as well as outside faucets, lights, and electrical receptacles.’
    • ‘Next, he was supposed to go to the fuselage electric-power receptacles and remove the plugs, then exit the area in reverse order.’
    • ‘Be sure ground fault circuit interrupters are specified for all electrical receptacles.’
    • ‘It's a good idea to require the owner to hire an electrician to provide the right power and receptacles.’
    • ‘In new home construction, plan to locate an electrical receptacle and coaxial cable and speaker cable outlets behind the TV.’
    • ‘If there are not adequate receptacles, a fused and grounded power strip should be used instead of an ordinary extension cord.’
    • ‘One complete package supplies desks, chairs, cubicle partitions, power and communications receptacles, lighting, and more.’
    • ‘In remodeling or designing a kitchen, there are certain aspects of design that must be followed, such as installing ground fault circuit interrupters on all receptacles within the kitchen.’
    • ‘Whether you are adding a room or rewiring an old one, don't skimp on the receptacles.’
    • ‘If you use one of these, be sure to attach the adapter's grounding metal flange to the wall receptacle's center screw, which must be grounded.’
  • 3Zoology
    An organ or structure which receives a secretion, eggs, sperm, etc.

    • ‘Females mate with multiple males and store the collection of sperm in the seminal receptacle and the paired spermathecae for later use in fertilizing eggs.’
    • ‘During copulation, he deposits sperm into her sperm receptacle and places a plug in it, perhaps to retain his sperm or prevent other males from mating with her.’
    • ‘This dance would last no more than 10 to 15 seconds, and from what I have read the male at this point inserts his sperm packet into the receptacle below the female's mouth, using his specially modified tentacle.’
    • ‘If all goes well, the male lobster soon embraces his mate firmly, assumes a posture suggestive of the missionary position, and deposits his sperm inside an egg receptacle near her tail.’
  • 4Botany
    An enlarged area at the apex of a stem on which the parts of a flower or the florets of a flower head are inserted.

    • ‘Deer remove the whole flower or the full complement of follicles plus the receptacle, leaving only the cut pedicel.’
    • ‘The strawberry you eat isn't really a fruit at all, but the enlarged receptacle of the flower - a member of the rose family.’
    • ‘Petal length was measured as the length of the petal from its apex to its adaxial junction with the receptacle.’
    • ‘The vase life of the flowers with part of the ovary tissue remaining on the receptacle was similar to that of the control flowers.’
    • ‘The fleshy ‘berry’ to which they are attached is an enlarged, softened receptacle, corresponding to the small, white cone which remains on the stem of a raspberry when the fruit is picked.’
    1. 4.1 A structure supporting the sexual organs in some algae, mosses, and liverworts.
      • ‘The receptacle remains on the thallus surface until the receptacle's sporophytes approach maturity.’
      • ‘Just beneath the surface of receptacles are spherical cavities called conceptacles where gametes are produced.’


Late Middle English: from Latin receptaculum, from receptare ‘receive back’, frequentative of recipere (see receive).