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[ myoo-choo-uhl ]

/ ˈmyu tʃu əl /

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possessed, experienced, performed, etc., by each of two or more with respect to the other; reciprocal: to have mutual respect.

having the same relation each toward the other: to be mutual enemies.

of or relating to each of two or more; held in common; shared: mutual interests.

having or pertaining to a form of corporate organization in which there are no stockholders, and in which profits, losses, expenses, etc., are shared by members in proportion to the business each transacts with the company: a mutual company.See also mutual insurance.




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Origin of mutual

First recorded in 1470–80; from Middle French mutuel, from Latin mūtu(us) “mutual, reciprocal” (equivalent to mūt(āre) “to change”; see mutate) + -uus adjective suffix) + Middle French -el (from Latin -ālis ) -al1

synonym study for mutual

1. Mutual, reciprocal agree in the idea of an exchange or balance between two or more persons or groups. Mutual indicates an exchange of a feeling, obligation, etc., between two or more people, or an interchange of some kind between persons or things: mutual esteem; in mutual agreement. Reciprocal indicates a relation in which one act, thing, feeling, etc., balances or is given in return for another: reciprocal promises or favors.

historical usage of mutual

The earliest (15th century) and still a current meaning of mutual is “reciprocal,” specifying the relation of two or more persons or things to each other: Their admiration is mutual. Teachers and students sometimes suffer from a mutual misunderstanding. Mutual soon developed the sense of “having in common, shared”: Their mutual objective is peace. This latter sense has been in use since the 16th century and is entirely standard. It is occasionally criticized, not on the grounds of ambiguity but on the grounds that the later sense development is somehow wrong. Mutual in the sense of “shared” may have been encouraged by the title of Charles Dickenss novel Our Mutual Friend (1864–65), but Dickens was not the innovator. The fact that common also has the sense “ordinary, unexceptional” and “coarse, vulgar” may have contributed to the use of mutual instead of common in designating a shared friend.


mu·tu·al·ly, adverbnon·mu·tu·al, adjectivequa·si-mu·tu·al, adjectivetrans·mu·tu·al, adjective

un·mu·tu·al, adjective


mutual , reciprocal (see synonym study at the current entry) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use mutual in a sentence

  • If you all don’t have any mutual friends, go ahead and leave them an inbox message to see if they are open to connecting.

  • Shortly after I got home, a friend called and told me that a mutual friend was in town for the night and wanted to hang out.

  • Unlike other mutual aid groups, which tend to be located in population centers, the seeds can reach people in rural areas, with hubs in Mississippi, Texas, western North Carolina, and more.

  • Instead, he is moving his investments from mutual funds to more liquid forms of money that he can access when necessary.

  • Jim and I had several mutual friends and we’d cross paths every so often.

  • He knew I loved him like a big brother, and I knew the feeling was mutual.

  • Bound together by mutual distrust, both sides end up lashing themselves to the mast of rigid law.

  • But among ferocious ideologues, similar roots are no guarantee of mutual sympathy when schisms occur.

  • Sharpton noted that otherwise some of their mutual detractors might suggest that he had played a role in the appointment.

  • Earlier this year, a mutual friend told me that Peter was being held captive in Syria.

  • And with some expressions of mutual good-will and interest, master and man separated.

  • Without any known cause of offence, a tacit acknowledgement of mutual dislike was shewn by Louis and de Patinos.

  • Such mutual distrust necessarily creates or accompanies a lack of moral courage.

  • The two enjoyed a mutual understanding from which he was excluded, a private intimacy that was spiritual, mental,— physical.

  • Suffice it to say, a mutual passion was conceived between the two cousins, and my father persuaded her to elope with him.

British Dictionary definitions for mutual


experienced or expressed by each of two or more people or groups about the other; reciprocalmutual distrust

common to or shared by both or all of two or more partiesa mutual friend; mutual interests

denoting an insurance company, etc, in which the policyholders share the profits and expenses and there are no shareholders

Derived forms of mutual

mutuality (ˌmjuːtjʊˈælɪtɪ) or mutualness, nounmutually, adverb

Word Origin for mutual

C15: from Old French mutuel, from Latin mūtuus reciprocal (originally: borrowed); related to mūtāre to change

usage for mutual

The use of mutual to mean common to or shared by two or more parties was formerly considered incorrect, but is now acceptable. Tautologous use of mutual should be avoided: cooperation (not mutual cooperation) between the two countries

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

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