AskDefine | Define recitation

Dictionary Definition



1 written matter that is recited from memory
2 a public instance of reciting or repeating (from memory) something prepared in advance; "the program included songs and recitations of well-loved poems" [syn: recital, reading]
3 a regularly scheduled session as part of a course of study [syn: course session, class period]
4 systematic training by multiple repetitions; "practice makes perfect" [syn: exercise, practice, drill, practice session]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The act of publicly reciting something previously memorized.
  2. The material recited.
  3. A regularly scheduled class, in a school, in which discussion occurs of the material covered in a parallel lecture.
    • 1882, Wayside Gleanings for Leisure Moments, Cambridge University Press, page 20,
      I shall now endeavor to give some account of the College.... Some then go to a recitation of the lesson they have learnt the previous evening. Some return to their rooms till the breakfast-bell, about seven or after. At eight the sludy bell rings. All must then go in their rooms and continue there, even if they have no lessons to learn, unless they attend a recitation which occupies an hour.
    • 1896, Frank Norris, "The 'English Courses' of the University of California", reprinted in, 1986, Novels and Essays, Library of America, ISBN 0940450402, page 1109,
      In the "announcement of courses" published annually by the faculty of the University of California the reader cannot fail to be impressed with the number and scope of the hours devoted by the students to recitations and lectures upon the subject of "literature."
    • 1999 October 29, Jeffrey W. Levine , "Re: Debate on accreditation of Jones International",, Usenet,
      Many of my courses, however, were offered in recitation-lecture format. We would attend class, say twice a week, and a lecture once a week. ... I do seem to recall that my recitation sections seldom had less than 40 to 50 students and my lecture classes often had upwards of 100 to 300 students.


act of reciting
material recited

Extensive Definition

Recitation means a repetition of what has been said before. It is used in a religious, an oratorical, and an educational sense.


Recitation is a form of religious practice in which fixed material (prayers, catechism, etc.) are spoken or performed. For example the salaah in Islam or the doxology in some Christian churches.


Recitation or the spoken presentation (performance) of a written speech or piece of poetry is used in oratory for practice.


A recitation is a discussion carried by a teaching assistant (TA) or instructor to supplement a lecture given by a senior faculty at an academic institution. During the recitation, the leader will review the lecture, expand on the concepts, and carry a discussion with the students. In classes involving mathematics and Engineering, the recitation is often used to perform derivations or solve problems similar to those assigned to the students.


  • Jahandarie, Khosrow (1996) Spoken and Written Discourse: a multi-disciplinary perspective Ablex/Greenwood, Stamford, Connecticut, ISBN 1567504264
  • Warner, Charles Dudley (1899) "School or Entertainment Recitations" Library of the World's Best Literature, Ancient and Modern J.A. Hill, New York, p. cdlxxx

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

address, after-dinner speech, allocution, assignment, chalk talk, debate, declamation, diatribe, discourse, disquisition, eulogy, exercise, exhortation, exposition, filibuster, forensic, forensic address, formal speech, funeral oration, harangue, homework, homily, hortatory address, inaugural, inaugural address, instruction, invective, jeremiad, lecture, lecture-demonstration, lesson, monologue, moral, moral lesson, morality, moralization, object lesson, oration, pep talk, performance, peroration, philippic, pitch, preachment, prepared speech, prepared text, public speech, reading, recital, sales talk, salutatory, salutatory address, say, screed, sermon, set speech, set task, skull session, speech, speechification, speeching, talk, talkathon, task, teaching, tirade, valediction, valedictory, valedictory address
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