In the course of reviewing a standard operating procedure, I came across the subheading: "Receival, Costing and Charging of Work".

I immediately began to doubt whether the word "receival" was a legitimate equivalent to the noun "receipt", as in: receipt of samples...

My gut feeling is that use of "receival" in place of the word "receipt", as above, is either outmoded/archaic, or entirely incorrect.

Several Google searches of the word tend to confirm my suspicion that "receival" is used very rarely these days, and generally only occurs as a noun modifier. (For example: receival bin, receival limits, Grain Receival Standards.)

Am I correct in assuming that "receival" should not be used as a post-qualified* noun, such as in: receival of work?

*(I just made up that compound adjective; feel free to correct me if you are aware of the proper term.)

  • here are some more examples to muse on: google.com/…
    – Unreason
    Jun 23, 2011 at 9:33
  • It sounds strange to me to. In my consulting work, I've only ever seen the word receiving (as in "Shipping and Receiving"), which would match the other gerunds nicely.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Jun 23, 2011 at 11:58
  • The example I just came across was in a letter from a City Council i.e food receival temperatures.
    – user27094
    Oct 9, 2012 at 3:35
  • 2
    Many businesses in Australia have Reception, Receival and Despatch departments Where Reception is where people are received (Main Office)<BR> Receival is where goods are received (In-ward goods Warehouse)<BR> and Despatch is where goods are Despatched. (Out-ward goods Warehouse)
    – Richard
    Mar 28, 2013 at 6:36
  • It is in this online dictionary collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/receival Oct 11, 2016 at 23:21

9 Answers 9


If you check it with onelook you will find this noun mentioned in only two sources (which is really rare) and none of them is a major source.

Searching through the books finds about 5,000 results which is not so shabby, but as you point out, usually it is a noun modifier, but you will find cases when it is used on its own.

The two sources that have entries define it differently

  • Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia defines it as reception
  • Burton's Legal Thesaurus, 4E defines it as acquisition

As Mr. Disappointment mentions there is a word (receipt) that is more common and more clearly defined, so unless you have a very good reason to use it I would leave it alone.

An example of (?)acceptable usage, might be:

receival of receipts

to avoid repetition of a word in different sense.

  • 1
    The Burton's entry is telling; I suspect receival has a quite technical legal meaning.
    – user1579
    Jun 23, 2011 at 12:11
  • @Rhodri, it just redirects to acquisition
    – Unreason
    Jun 23, 2011 at 12:24
  • I think when something is received, it has been given or provided. But, Acquisition is not always done by receiving it. Reception looks equivalent.
    – Khaled.K
    Feb 3, 2014 at 9:39

You are correct, the right word would be receipt:

From The Free Dictionary:


  • The act of receiving: We are in receipt of your letter.

Receival is not in any of my dictionaries, physical, or on-line.


Interesting to note that this Google Ngram notes usage of the word "receival" since 1780, although the usage amount is very tiny.

However, "receival" isn't a correct term for 'receiving something'. In your case, I would say


as a more appropriate choice.


I can only speak from my own experience here, but it's common for a warehouse in Australia to use "receival slips" which show a record of the receipt of goods. A Google search on the word "receival" tends to reveal it's usage on many Australian websites too.

In Australia receipt tends to refer to the physical slip of paper you'd get after buying something, whereas receival refers to the action of receiving. ie. "Upon receival of the item you will be supplied with a receipt".

I hope this provides some insight.


The Oxford English Dictionary examples go back to 1637. It says receival (at least in the meaning the act of receiving) is now chiefly Australian. Another meaning is a quantity received.


15 years experience in the Australian logistics industry has given me significant exposure to the words Receival and Receivals, with the meaning as being the act of receiving goods into a warehouse (receival), and the place (Receivals) where goods are to be delivered within a warehouse.

I would adamantly assert that this word is from the Australian dialect of English language, with the need for such a term arising from the differing definition of the term Receipt, which refers to the paperwork that documents the transaction that occurs to the goods upon receival.

I suspect that it was originally a term used in Civil Law, most likely from the English Maritime Law of the sea, as most warehouse terms in Australia are.


Receival is not considered correct by the dictionaries I have at hand (note that it is easily understood, though). I would rather go with reception, receiving, receipt (though the meaning of “invoice” is more common for this one, which could make it unclear), delivery or arrival.


Agree with the Australian comments. Receival seems quite appropriate here in Australia for the receiving of goods. But my spell checker keeps highlighting it as an error. Some of my examples - Goods receival dock - Recival of equipment


As noted already, receipt and reception are both good options. However, I think there's an interesting distinction to point out between these two.

Reception seems to imply some sort of action taken in order to receive something. The two examples that come to mind are football, where it means the act of catching the ball, and its usage as a synonym for reaction, as in, "the new book got a negative reception."

Receipt, on the other hand, just means the simple event of receiving something.

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