Recipe vs Receipt

In Swedish, the word recept means both prescription (medicine) and recipe (cooking). This means that the word receipt in English is confusing for them. They want to use it for recipe (cooking) and receipt (proof of purchase).

Interestingly, recipes were once called receipts in English. The words receipt and recipe both derive from of the Latin word recipere, a verb meaning to take or receive. The word recipe has been around for a long long time, but it was only fairly recently that it was commonly used for the cooking instructions. Even Downton Abbey uses receipt for cooking, and it was set in the 1920s.

From Webster:

The onetime preference for receipt could partly have been influenced by writers who commented on manners, such as Emily Post. Post’s Etiquette, first published in 1922, included a section on “social usage” and said of the two words, “Receipt has a more distinguished ancestry, but since recipe is used by all modern writers on cooking, only the immutables insist on receipt.”


Author: Janet Carr

Fashion, beauty and animal loving language consultant from South Africa living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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