Meaning of RECIPROCAL in English


I. rə̇ˈsiprəkəl, rēˈ- adjective

Etymology: Latin reciprocus returning the same way, alternating (from — assumed — recus backward — from re- — + — assumed — procus forward, from pro- pro (I)) + English -al


a. : inversely related : opposite

each flexor muscle which contracts has its reciprocal extensor muscle which operates in the reverse direction — A.E.Wier

b. : of, constituting, or resulting from paired crosses in which the form that supplies the male parent of the first cross supplies the female parent of the second cross and vice versa

a cross between a black Leghorn male and a white Leghorn female and one between a white Leghorn male and a black Leghorn female are reciprocal crosses


a. : mutually existing : shared, felt, or shown by both sides

two congenial spirits united … by mutual confidence and reciprocal virtues — T.L.Peacock

reciprocal love

reciprocal understanding

b. : expressive of mutual action or relationship — used of verbs and especially of compound pronouns; compare reciprocal pronouns

3. : serving to reciprocate : consisting of or functioning as a return in kind

an unselfish friend who helped him without expecting any reciprocal benefit


a. : corresponding to each other : being equivalent or complementary

agreed to extend reciprocal privileges to each other's citizens

reciprocal cultural missions

the public and private systems engage in reciprocal services — Albert Lepawsky

b. : marked by or based upon reciprocity

reciprocal trade agreements


mutual , common : reciprocal describes an equivalence, balance, equal counteraction, equal return, or equal sharing

not a mere cooperation of distinct forces, but an extremely powerful reciprocal action, each in turn firing the other and fired by it — C.E.Montague

the connection between law and political theory has not been one-sided; it has been completely reciprocal — Huntington Cairns

mutual is likely to apply to feelings or actions shared by two, indicating either an accompanying reciprocity, equality, or interreaction or simply stressing the fact of a common experience or emotion

a devoted attachment and mutual admiration between aunt and niece — George Eliot

mutual obligation — on the part of the lord to protect his vassal against the violence of others, and on the vassal's part to make good the homage pledged by him — H.O.Taylor

sometimes mingles poetry and propaganda to their mutual disaster — J.L.Lowes

common conveys no suggestion of reciprocity between two parties or agencies; instead it indicates the fact of joint participation or possession among any number

death and other incidents of our common fate — M.R.Cohen

generally agreed that all men belong to the same species, that all were probably derived from the same ancestral stock, and that all share in a common patrimony — M.F.A.Montagu

looked at each other for one instant, as if each had in mind those few moments during which a certain moonlit scene was common to both — Thomas Hardy

II. noun

( -s )

1. : something that reciprocates or has a reciprocal relationship to something else ; especially : a reciprocal term, expression, or concept

freedom — or its reciprocal , the control of human behavior — B.F.Skinner

corruption is a reciprocal to generation — Francis Bacon

2. : a number that when multiplied by a given number gives one

4/3 is the reciprocal of 3/4

1/9 is the reciprocal of 9

3. : reciprocal exchange

III. noun

: multiplicative inverse herein

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.