c. 1300, receiven, "take into one's possession, accept possession of," also in reference to the sacrament, from Old North French receivre (Old French recoivre) "seize, take hold of, pick up; welcome, accept," from Latin recipere "regain, take back, bring back, carry back, recover; take to oneself, take in, admit," from re- "back," though the exact sense here is obscure (see re-) + -cipere, combining form of capere "to take" (from PIE root *kap- "to grasp").
From c. 1300 as "welcome (in a specified manner)." From early 14c. as "catch in the manner of a receptacle." From mid-14c. as "obtain as one's reward." From late 14c. as "accept as authoritative or true;" also late 14c. as "have a blow or wound inflicted." Radio and (later) television sense is attested from 1908. Related: Received; receiving. Receiving line is by 1933.
Other obsolete English verbs from the same Latin word in different forms included recept "to receive, take in" (early 15c., recepten, from Old French recepter, variant of receter and Latin receptus). Also compare receipt, which also had a verb form in Middle English, receiten.
updated on May 18, 2021