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A formal statement appearing in a legal document such as a deed that is preliminary in nature and provides an explanation of the reasons for the transaction.

The recital in a deed, for example, might indicate the reasons why the owner is selling the property.

In Pleading, a recital is the statement of matter that is introductory to a positive allegation; it begins with the words, "For that whereas …" and is followed by the claim of the party.


noun account, depiction, description, detailed statement, discourse, dissertation, explanation, exposition, graphic account, iteration, lecture, narrative, oration, reaffirmation, reassertation, recitation, recountal, recounting, reiteration, relation, rendition, report, representation, restatement, retelling, statement, story, summary, summing up, telling
Associated concepts: recital in a deed, recital of consideration
See also: account, declamation, delineation, disclosure, discourse, instruction, mention, narration, narrative, reference, report, restatement, specification, speech, statement, story

RECITAL, contracts, pleading. The repetition of some former writing, or the statement of something which has been done. Touchst. 76.
     2. Recitals are used to explain those matters of fact which are necessary to make the transaction intelligible. 2 Bl. Com. 298. It is said that when a deed of defeasance recites the deed which it is meant to defeat, it must recite it truly. Cruise, Dig. tit. 32, c 7, s. 28. In other cases it need not be so particular. 3 Penna. Rep. 324; 3 Chan. Cas. 101; Co. Litt. 352 b; Com. Dig. Fait, E 1.
     3. A party who executes a deed reciting a particular fact is estopped from denying such fact; as, when it was recited in the condition of a bond that the obligor had received divers sums of money for the obligee which he had not brought to account, and acknowledged that a balance was due to the obligee, it was holden that the obligor was estopped to say that he had not received any money for the use of the obligee. Willes, 9, 25; Rolle's Ab. 872, 3.
     4. In pleading, when public statutes are recited, a small variance will not be fatal, where by the recital the party is not "tied up to the statute;" that is, if the conclusion be contra formam statuti praediti. Sav. 42; 1 Chit. Crim. Law, 276 Esp. on Penal Stat. 106. Private statutes must be recited in pleading, and proved by an exemplified copy, unless the opposite party, by his pleading admit them.
     5. By the plea of nul tiel record, the party relying on a private statute is put to prove it as recited, and a variance will be fatal. See 4 Co. 76; March, Rep. 117, pl. 193; 3 Harr. & McHen. 388. Vide. generally, 12 Vin. Ab. 129; 13 Vin. Ab. 417; 18 Vin. Ab. 162; 8 Com. Dig. 584; Com. Dig. Testemoigne Evid. B 5; 4 Binn. R. 231; 1 Dall. R. 67; 3 Binn. R. 175; 3 Yeates, R. 287; 4 Yeates, R. 362, 577; 9 Cowen, R. 86; 4 Mason, R. 268; Yelv. R. 127 a, note 1; Cruise, Dig. tit. 32, c. 20, s. 23; 5 Johns. Ch. Rep. 23; 7 Halst. R. 22; 2 Bailey's R. 101; 6 Harr. & Johns. 336; 9 Cowen's R. 271; 1 Dana's R. 327; 15 Pick. R. 68; 5 N. H. Rep. 467; 12 Pick. R, 157; Toullier in his Droit Civil Francais, liv. 3, t. 3, c. 6, n. 157 et seq. has examined this subject with his usual ability. 2 Hill. Ab. c. 29, s. 30; 2 Bail. R. 430; 2 B. & A. 625; 2 Y. & J. 407; 5 Harr. & John. 164; Cov. on Conv. Ev. 298, 315; Hurl. on Bonds, 33; 6 Watts & Serg. 469.
     6. Formerly, in equity, the decree contained recitals of the pleadings in the cause, which became a great grievance. Some of the English chancellors endeavored to restrain this prolixity. By the rules of practice for the courts in equity of the United States it is provided, that in drawing up decrees and orders, neither the bill, nor the answer, nor other pleading nor any part thereof, nor the report of any master, nor any other prior proceedings, shall be stated or recited in the decree or order. Rule 86; 4 Bouv. Inst. n. 4443.

References in classic literature ?
He flattered himself he should be able to frighten Porthos with the adventure of the baldric, which he might, if not killed upon the spot, relate to everybody a recital which, well managed, would cover Porthos with ridicule.
Dantes obeyed, and commenced what he called his history, but which consisted only of the account of a voyage to India, and two or three voyages to the Levant until he arrived at the recital of his last cruise, with the death of Captain Leclere, and the receipt of a packet to be delivered by himself to the grand marshal; his interview with that personage, and his receiving, in place of the packet brought, a letter addressed to a Monsieur Noirtier -- his arrival at Marseilles, and interview with his father -- his affection for Mercedes, and their nuptual feast -- his arrest and subsequent examination, his temporary detention at the Palais de Justice, and his final imprisonment in the Chateau d'If.
Your character was unfolded in the recital which I received many months ago from Mr.
said D'Artagnan, Planchet's recital agreeing with his own observations.
There was nothing wanting in its orderly arrangement - neither piety nor faith, nor the tribute of praise due to the worthy dead, with the edifying recital of their achievement.
There was no murdering of the noble music, contained in the Bible and the Liturgy, by its recital in a dead monotone, with no more expression than a mechanical talking-doll.
no, no,(exclaimed Sophia) I cannot go to Newgate; I shall not be able to support the sight of my Augustus in so cruel a confinement--my feelings are sufficiently shocked by the RECITAL, of his Distress, but to behold it will overpower my Sensibility.
During my recital I glanced at Polina, but nothing was to be discerned on her face.
My recital will be short, my lord, but in the name of Heaven do not tremble so.
Certainly," I replied, deeply sighing at the recital of so lame a story.
Found in a Bottle," "A Descent Into a Maelstrom" and "The Balloon Hoax"; such tales of conscience as "William Wilson," "The Black Cat" and "The Tell-tale Heart," wherein the retributions of remorse are portrayed with an awful fidelity; such tales of natural beauty as "The Island of the Fay" and "The Domain of Arnheim"; such marvellous studies in ratiocination as the "Gold-bug," "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," "The Purloined Letter" and "The Mystery of Marie Roget," the latter, a recital of fact, demonstrating the author's wonderful capability of correctly analyzing the mysteries of the human mind; such tales of illusion and banter as "The Premature Burial" and "The System of Dr.
The bridegroom, who during this recital had grown deadly pale, up and tried to escape, but the guests seized him and held him fast.