Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To repeat in concise form.
  • transitive v. Biology To appear to repeat (the evolutionary stages of the species) during the embryonic development of the individual organism.
  • intransitive v. To make a summary.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to summarize or repeat in concise form
  • v. to repeat the evolutionary stages of an organism during its embryonic development

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To sum up, or enumerate by heads or topics, what has been previously said; to repeat briefly the substance.
  • transitive v. To repeat, as the principal points in a discourse, argument, or essay; to give a summary of the principal facts, points, or arguments of; to relate in brief; to summarize.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To repeat, as the principal things mentioned in a preceding discourse, argument, or essay; give a summary of the principal facts, points, or arguments of; mention or relate in brief.
  • Synonyms Recapitulate, Repeat, Recite, Rehearse, Reiterate. Recapitulate is a precise word, applying to the formal or exact naming of points that have been with some exactness named before: as, it is often well after an extended argument, to recapitulate the heads. In this it differs from repeat, recite, rehearse, which are freer in their use. To reiterate is to say a thing a second time or oftener.
  • To repeat in brief what has already been said.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. repeat an earlier theme of a composition
  • v. repeat stages of evolutionary development during the embryonic phase of life
  • v. summarize briefly

Etymologies

Latin recapitulāre, recapitulāt- : re-, re- + capitulum, main point, heading, diminutive of caput, capit-, head; see kaput- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Late Latin recapitulatus, past participle of recapitulare ("to go over the main points of a thing again"), from Latin re- ("again") + capitulum ("a head, main part, chapter"); see capitulate. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Most first generation immigrants will be able to understand more English than you think, but for them to process it and recapitulate, that is more than they are willing to do, it is just plain hard!

    Pete Johanson on Mexican News

  • We have thus been able to largely recapitulate several centuries of painstaking manual labor with our automated method, the Israeli team announced in a paper presented last week in Portland, Oregon, at the annual conference of the Association for Computational Linguistics.

    Tech tools tackle Biblical scholarship

  • Any state-level insurance efforts will recapitulate that pattern.

    Matthew Yglesias » Leave Health Care to the States?

  • Social historians like Clare Graves and Jean Gebser have developed developmental models that show how human individuals and cultures recapitulate individual growth through archaic, magical, mythical-tribal, modernist, post-modernist and onto integral value structures.

    Sunday Salon: “What Good are the Arts” by John Carey: Some musings Part 2

  • I do not need to recapitulate your own record for you, but I wish to ensure that everybody here knows how well you have served the Romulan people.

    Star Trek: Typhon Pact: Rough Beasts of Empire

  • To recapitulate in short what I've written in the past:

    Tony Jones: The Church Should Stay Out Of The Marriage Business

  • Google hopes to recapitulate this history in smartphone software.

    The Many Wars of Google

  • I think when gamers are upset about a video game movie being awful, they aren't saying 'that game was awesome film material, how could they mess it up!?' they're more saying, 'why do book adaptations get better writers who know what works in film and what doesn't while all we get is someone who tries to recapitulate plot points/action sequences from the game'

    This Is Why I Shouldn't Drink

  • We have had and still have fascinating discussions on 'sf vis a vis mythology' amongst Indian sf buffs and it would perhaps be worthwhile to recapitulate that discussion here.

    MIND MELD: Guide to International SF/F (Part II)

  • To recapitulate, the struggle for secession did involve a few thousand committed anti-Soviet nationalists.

    The Return

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Comments

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  • "Biology To appear to repeat (the evolutionary stages of the species) during the embryonic development of the individual organism."

    - American Heritage Dictionary

    July 20, 2010