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Recipe vs. Receipt

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Brian in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, reports hearing an older person talk about getting the receipt for a dish, using the word receipt in the same way that others might use the word recipe. The use of receipt as a synonym for recipe, as in “a set of cooking instructions,” is fading out, but is still occasionally heard. Both words go back to the Latin word recipere, meaning “to take,” but entered English at different times. Receipt is the older term, originally denoting “the act of receiving something.” Recipe is the Latin imperative form of recipere, and was inscribed at the top of a list of instructions for a medicinal preparation. There’s a vestige of this usage in the abbreviation , now seen on pharmaceutical prescriptions. This is part of a complete episode.

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