Reciprocal – What it is, meaning, uses and synonyms

We explain what is reciprocal and what are its uses in various fields. Also, some synonyms and antonyms of this term.

A reciprocal contract has obligations that both parties must obey.

What is a reciprocal thing?

The word reciprocal in Spanish comes from the Latin reciprocus that It was a term used to describe the movement of the waters of the sea, that come and go with the waves. This logic was later applied to other areas, and thus was born the use that we give to the term today, that is, said of something, which corresponds to one side as well as the other. It is a derivative of the noun reciprocity.

Thus, we say that something is reciprocal when applied in a proportionate way to two sides or two perspectives, as occurs, for example, when talking about a feeling (which is reciprocal if both people feel it), a transaction (which is reciprocal if both parties get something consistent), help (which is reciprocal when both parties benefit), or practically anything. Reciprocal relationships can be observed in affective, psychological, objective, biological, etc.

This term also has very specific uses within particular disciplines. For example, in cultural anthropology, Reciprocity is called the informal exchange of goods and work, just as it happens in the economic system of a town. Similarly, in the field of mathematics, it is known as the reciprocal or multiplicative inverse of a number to another number that, following the expression 1 / x or x-1, yields 1 as the result when multiplied by x. A final example of this is the use of reciprocal in law, for example, when speaking of reciprocal contracts (that bind both parties) or reciprocal obligations (that both parties must obey).

Synonyms for reciprocal

The following terms are more or less synonymous with reciprocal, going from the closest in meaning to the most distant:

  • Mutual
  • Correlative
  • Bilateral
  • Respective
  • Alternate
  • Interchangeable
  • Equitable
  • Ambidextrous
  • Reverse
  • Equal
  • Likewise
  • Related

Reciprocal antonyms

Reciprocal antonyms are those that establish a non-bilateral or non-correlative relationship, such as:

  • Unilateral
  • Asymmetric
  • Uneven
  • Unequal
  • Partial
  • Inequitable