Definition of reciprocate in English:



  • 1[with object] Respond to (a gesture or action) by making a corresponding one.

    ‘the favour was reciprocated’
    [no object] ‘perhaps I was expected to reciprocate with some remark of my own’
    • ‘Learn to respect and reciprocate small gestures of concern, kindness, compassion and humanity.’
    • ‘Those gestures were reciprocated and negotiations ensued.’
    • ‘Trent reciprocated her embrace, lacing his arms around her waist and lifting her up against him.’
    • ‘They expected the generosity to be reciprocated.’
    • ‘He flatters, massages their egos, tells them that they are statesmen, hints at his own ability to further their careers, provided the gesture is reciprocated.’
    • ‘What I did was to reciprocate the gesture he made to me.’
    • ‘I look forward to seeing the president reciprocating the gesture.’
    • ‘The old man bowed, a gesture which was reciprocated by both newcomers.’
    • ‘Will those who claim to represent the Hindu populace reciprocate the gesture?’
    • ‘It was a pointed gesture from the Africans, and the question now is; are we able to reciprocate their welcoming gestures and acknowledge their willingness to work with us?’
    • ‘I do not thrive on reviews but I do appreciate them and quite often reciprocate the favor.’
    • ‘The occupants in the front row - musicians and important invitees - appeared to be a privileged lot, reciprocating the greetings of visitors who passed by.’
    • ‘In turn, you keep a closed loop by reciprocating the favor to the other website by extending the same courtesy of a back link.’
    • ‘Marcus reciprocated the farewell gesture by slightly nodding his head and slowly blinking his large, intelligent eyes.’
    • ‘Yes, I do contact the other mother by phone just to say ‘hello,’ but she never reciprocates the gesture.’
    • ‘This was a phenomenal break for the band and they reciprocated the gesture with an astounding and memorable performance.’
    • ‘Filipinos avoid people who do not reciprocate a favour.’
    • ‘She reciprocated his embrace, crying silently.’
    • ‘In March 1999, Russia unilaterally cut customs duties on some Bulgarian imports and has been expecting Bulgaria to reciprocate.’
    • ‘He reciprocated the embrace, rocking her gently as he pressed kisses into her hair.’
    respond in kind, return the favour
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    1. 1.1Feel (affection or love) for someone in the same way that they feel it for oneself.
      ‘her passion for him was not reciprocated’
      • ‘In terms of character, although Robert takes the lead in seducing Francesca, his longing is reciprocated throughout.’
      • ‘Eduardo loves his son and that love is very clearly reciprocated.’
      • ‘If romantic interest is reciprocated, young men and young women will visit surreptitiously at night under the cover of darkness.’
      • ‘But when his love was not reciprocated he turned from admirer to stalker, Harrogate magistrates were told.’
      • ‘The real issue is, why are you so heavily interested in someone who isn't reciprocating interest in an active way and repeatedly delivers fresh blows of rejection?’
      • ‘It was all his fault; Will had picked up on his feelings and assumed he was expected to reciprocate them.’
      • ‘They make us believe that they reciprocate our loyalty and friendship.’
      • ‘Tom loves Iola, but does not expect his feelings to be reciprocated because he recognizes that he is not of her class or world.’
      • ‘They also described reciprocated friendships more positively than unreciprocated ones.’
      • ‘I had one relationship with a girl who truly loved me, but I was unable to reciprocate her love.’
      • ‘When the love isn't reciprocated, the man has a breakdown of sorts and sells pictures of her smoking heroin to a newspaper, and there's a bit of a fight that we don't see.’
      • ‘Her affection was reciprocated without hesitation.’
      • ‘The feeling was not reciprocated and Nicole felt like crying when she realized it.’
      • ‘Because she then realized that her husband was madly in love with another woman, and that his love was reciprocated.’
      • ‘This first grandchild was to be her enduring favourite, and the devotion was reciprocated.’
      • ‘The daughter, who has inherited her mother's sensibilities as well as her appearance, reciprocates Pierre's love for her.’
      • ‘When ministers start judging the public by what they do with their spare time, the interest is often reciprocated.’
      • ‘Lopez is clearly a gifted teacher who has earned and reciprocated the love of his students.’
      • ‘He also discusses the well-known phenomenon of using one's friends to find out if one's interest is reciprocated by the object of one's affection.’
      • ‘We see him through Tatiana's eyes, reciprocating her love.’
      requite, return, feel in return, give in return, repay, give back
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  • 2[no object] (of a part of a machine) move backwards and forwards in a straight line.

    ‘a reciprocating blade’
    • ‘The pruning machines were simply reciprocating cutters or flails mounted on a tractor.’
    • ‘Lighter reciprocating and rotating parts were used and counterbalancing improved.’
    • ‘Unlike a piston engine, where reciprocating parts move up and down, the twin rotors in the Mazda just spin around.’
    • ‘A steam locomotive, for example, is a machine that converts the reciprocating motion of a piston into the rotation of its driving wheels.’
    • ‘This removable component not only provides full-length rails on which the slide reciprocates, but also contains the trigger mechanism, safety and sear.’


Late 16th century: from Latin reciprocat- moved backwards and forwards, from the verb reciprocare, from reciprocus (see reciprocal).