1. A set of directions with a list of ingredients for making or preparing something, especially food.
2. A formula for or means to a desired end: a recipe for success.
3. A medical prescription.
Used since the 1580s, as a “medical prescription,” from Middle French récipé, from Latin recipe “to take!,” second person imperative singular of recipere “to take”; the word written by physicians at the head of prescriptions. Figurative use from 1640s, meaning “instructions for preparing food” first recorded 1743. The original sense survives only in the pharmacist’s abbreviation Rx.