Definition of recapitulate in English:



[with object]
  • 1Summarize and state again the main points of.

    ‘he began to recapitulate his argument with care’
    • ‘The conclusion recapitulates and summarizes the main findings of the work.’
    • ‘They are not sincere, he says, and he does not even bother to recapitulate their arguments or try to refute them.’
    • ‘Let us begin by briefly recapitulating the novel's plot.’
    • ‘Participants recapitulated their major arguments and group discussions highlighted recurring themes and issues.’
    • ‘I won't try to recapitulate his entire argument.’
    • ‘Finally, let us briefly recapitulate the knowledge argument.’
    • ‘It might be superfluous to recapitulate the debate between traditional Marxist-Leninists and neo-Marxists such as Immanuel Wallerstein - that would require in itself a separate inquiry.’
    • ‘There are other significant discrepancies between police and media reports and the known facts, but there is no need to recapitulate those here.’
    • ‘Just so you know what this is about, I will recapitulate the details.’
    • ‘The story of the Union has been told on several occasions and there is no need to recapitulate it.’
    • ‘The student might begin with a sentence or two recapitulating the general area of the research, followed by a brief restatement of the specific topic and the research question.’
    • ‘There would be little point in recapitulating this excellent and very readable review.’
    • ‘To recapitulate, the adjective lists used in this study were generated from a rigorous pilot study and were matched for emotionality, imaginability, word frequency, and word length.’
    • ‘To recapitulate, the nation-state favours national identity, while the communist state favours class, since nations are conceived to be in transition and a temporary phase to be overcome.’
    • ‘To recapitulate, Young differs with me profoundly on the question of whether we should support the resistance, and hope for their victory against the army of occupation.’
    • ‘So, to recapitulate: he says he didn't know what was in the resolution because he wasn't paying close attention.’
    • ‘To recapitulate: this story has a long way to run, that much at least is clear.’
    • ‘In a strange, deadpan, yet brutal and even hysterical way, the play seems to be recapitulating all the debates about the relationship between life and art of the past century and a half.’
    • ‘The argument is rather simple so let me recapitulate.’
    • ‘It is worth recapitulating all this if only to suggest that whatever the public or private reasons for threatening to go to war, it is hard to see how it can be justified.’
    summarize, sum up
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    1. 1.1Biology Repeat (an evolutionary or other process) during development and growth.
      ‘many features of regeneration in the peripheral nervous system recapitulate development’
      • ‘We used to learn in high-school biology that ‘ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny’: The development of each individual human being resembles the evolution of the species.’
      • ‘In embryology, we see that ‘ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny’; that the human embryo goes through phases in development that reflect evolutionary changes from earlier vertebrates such as fish.’
      • ‘Hall believed that children recapitulate stages of human evolution as they grow from infants to adults.’
      • ‘Hall, the foremost child psychologist in the United States, argued that the child recapitulated the stages of evolution of the human race, from pre-savagery to civilization.’
      • ‘Does adult fracture repair recapitulate embryonic skeletal formation?’
      • ‘Hair follicle regeneration recapitulates embryonic development.’


Late 16th century from late Latin recapitulat- ‘gone through heading by heading’, from re- ‘again’ + capitulum ‘chapter’ (diminutive of caput ‘head’).