re·​claim | \ri-ˈklām \
reclaimed; reclaiming; reclaims

Definition of reclaim 

transitive verb

1a : to recall from wrong or improper conduct : reform

b : tame, subdue

2a : to rescue from an undesirable state also : to restore to a previous natural state reclaim mining sites

b : to make available for human use by changing natural conditions reclaim swampland

3 : to obtain from a waste product or by-product : recover reclaimed plastic

4a : to demand or obtain the return of

b : to regain possession of

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Other Words from reclaim

reclaimable \ ri-​ˈklā-​mə-​bəl \ adjective

Choose the Right Synonym for reclaim

rescue, deliver, redeem, ransom, reclaim, save mean to set free from confinement or danger. rescue implies freeing from imminent danger by prompt or vigorous action. rescued the crew of a sinking ship deliver implies release usually of a person from confinement, temptation, slavery, or suffering. delivered his people from bondage redeem implies releasing from bondage or penalties by giving what is demanded or necessary. job training designed to redeem school dropouts from chronic unemployment ransom specifically applies to buying out of captivity. tried to ransom the kidnap victim reclaim suggests a bringing back to a former state or condition of someone or something abandoned or debased. reclaimed long-abandoned farms save may replace any of the foregoing terms; it may further imply a preserving or maintaining for usefulness or continued existence. an operation that saved my life

Examples of reclaim in a Sentence

Sons and daughters are proudly reclaiming the traditions that their parents had forgotten. She reclaimed the title of world champion this year. You might be able to reclaim some of the money you contributed. Environmental groups have been reclaiming contaminated sites. Acres of land were reclaimed by conservationists. The factory reclaims fibers from textile wastes.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The communal space is decorated with quirky touches that reflect the creative neighborhood: reclaimed wood, macrame wall hangings, a garden gnome and a shelf supported by two big blue hands. Sarah Gish, kansascity, "Saltwater pool, gym, dog spa: Tour downtown KC's new Crossroads Westside Apartments," 27 June 2018 At the same time, Ng called out China for intensifying its military buildup on reclaimed reefs in the South China Sea. Rosalind Mathieson,, "Singapore Says U.S., China Both Risking Status Quo With Actions," 3 June 2018 Harry Heady, who spoke on behalf of the Arco project, said the site improvements include adding a 50-foot long, state-of-the-art car wash that uses reclaimed water, and adding a 500-gallon propane tank that could be dressed up with a mural. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "Board gives mixed reviews to proposed projects," 4 May 2018 But just as rivers can be reclaimed and brownfields can be remediated, communities can form countercultures against bias. Connie M. Razza, The Root, "Ending the Policing of Black Bodies in Public Spaces Requires Not Just a Change of Policy but a Change of Heart," 2 May 2018 Yet granting black South Africans suffrage rights would inevitably lead to a reordering of property relations, since the black majority would favor reclaiming land that had been taken by white settlers. Patrick Iber, The New Republic, "How neoliberalism shapes the global economy and limits the power of democracies," 23 Apr. 2018 Yet it was also known for cheap rents, attracting wave after wave of immigrants and refugees — most recently, from Somalia, like Adan — who were reclaiming the area. Nina Shapiro, The Seattle Times, "South King County tries to ride the development wave. Will an immigrant community be crushed?," 9 June 2018 Viewers learn that Olivia’s father, Rowan Pope (Joe Morton), was behind the assassination of Fitz’s son—a move that allows Rowan to reclaim his position as the head of the black-ops organization B613. Tanisha C. Ford, The Atlantic, "The Episode That Captured the Best and Worst of Scandal," 19 Apr. 2018 Bored by unemployment, eager to reclaim his reputation, the 65-year-old Pitino remains the most intriguing and polarizing candidate on the coaching carousel. Tim Sullivan, The Courier-Journal, "Rick Pitino could be a home run hire — if you ignore his baggage | Tim Sullivan," 31 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reclaim.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of reclaim

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for reclaim

Middle English reclamen, from Anglo-French reclamer, from Latin reclamare to cry out, protest, from re- + clamare to cry out — more at claim

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Statistics for reclaim

Last Updated

11 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reclaim

The first known use of reclaim was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for reclaim



English Language Learners Definition of reclaim

: to get back (something that was lost or taken away)

: to make (land) available for use by changing its condition

: to get (a usable material) from materials that have been used before


re·​claim | \ri-ˈklām \
reclaimed; reclaiming

Kids Definition of reclaim

1 : to get back (something that was lost or taken away) The skater reclaimed her championship.

2 : to restore to an original state reclaim a swamp

3 : to obtain from a waste product or by-product The bottles are made from reclaimed plastic.


transitive verb
re·​claim | \ˌrē-ˈklām \

Legal Definition of reclaim 

1 : to make fit or available for human use reclaiming land that had been strip-mined

2a : to demand the return of by right

b : to regain possession of

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Comments on reclaim

What made you want to look up reclaim? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

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