mid-15c. (late 13c., Anglo-French), receptour, "a knowing harborer of criminals, heretics, etc.," from Old French receptour or directly from Latin receptor, agent noun from recipere "to hold, contain" (see receive). Molecular biology sense is from 1900. Compare receiver. A receptory (early 15c., from Medieval Latin) was, among other definitions, an alchemical flask for receiving distillates.