late 14c., recepcion, in astrology, "the effect of two planets on each other;" late 15c. in the general sense of "the act or fact of getting or receiving; the receiving of something in the manner of a receptacle;" from Old French reception and directly from Latin receptionem (nominative receptio) "a receiving," noun of action from past-participle stem of recipere "to hold, contain" (see receive).
The sense of "action of receiving (persons) or of being received in a formal or ceremonial manner" is from 1660s; earlier it meant act or fact of being received into a company, class, etc., or in a certain manner (1640s). The meaning "ceremonial gathering of persons to be received or greeted" is by 1865, from a sense in French. Radio (later television) sense of "the receiving of broadcast signals" is by 1907. Reception room, set aside for the reception of visitors, is by 1829.
updated on May 18, 2021