re·​claim | \ ri-ˈklām How to pronounce reclaim (audio) \
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 How to pronounce reclaim (audio) \ 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 In 2010, two years into Barack Obama's presidency, the anti-government stalwarts helped Republicans win 63 House seats and reclaim the majority the GOP lost in 2006. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Former House Speaker John Boehner dishes on Ted Cruz and Michele Bachmann in memoir," 2 Apr. 2021 The permanent signs also will contain information about where people can reclaim their possessions if they are taken and stored during a clean-up, which Gloria said also will help clear up some confusion. Gary Warth, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Mayor Gloria: Homeless cleanups will be more compassionate," 29 Mar. 2021 Some wanted to help society reclaim a sense of normalcy. Kate Santich,, "Orlando trial tests COVID vaccine in teens," 7 Mar. 2021 Intelligence officials said talk of a possible attack may stem from the conspiracy group QAnon, whose supporters believe Trump will reclaim power March 4. Jim Spencer, Star Tribune, "Guard troops sat for hours awaiting Pentagon approval to defend Capitol," 3 Mar. 2021 Now, 22 years later, a new sequel finds Winter ready to reclaim the life that should have been hers all along—but not without facing unexpected hurdles. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "Sister Souljah’s Story Isn’t Over," 8 Mar. 2021 When government regulators cracked down on Ma and his fintech empire last fall, Shen decided to cut back and reclaim her former frugal self. Los Angeles Times, "‘Just spend’ and ‘just borrow,’ Jack Ma told China’s youth. Then came the bill," 8 Mar. 2021 Why not go big to make this happen and allow our Rondo neighbors to truly reclaim their home? Jerome Johnson, Star Tribune, "Don't just 'rethink' I-94 through Rondo," 4 Mar. 2021 Believers claim former President Donald Trump was elected to help uncover the conspiracy and, in the latest iteration, believe Trump will reclaim his role as commander in chief on March 4. Mike Brest, Washington Examiner, "Capitol Police aware of 'possible plot to breach the Capitol' on March 4," 3 Mar. 2021

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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Learn More about reclaim

Time Traveler for reclaim

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for reclaim

Last Updated

9 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Reclaim.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce reclaim (audio) \
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 How to pronounce reclaim (audio) \

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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