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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from reclaim

reclaimable \ ri-​ˈklā-​mə-​bəl How to pronounce reclaimable (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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

Then Granderson reclaimed the lead for Toronto with home runs in the fifth and seventh innings. Hunter Atkins, Houston Chronicle, "Curtis Granderson's home runs help Blue Jays soar past Astros," 26 June 2018 But the Twins reclaimed the lead in the sixth when Dozier dropped a single into right field to score Mitch Garver from second. Blair Kerkhoff, kansascity, "Three doubles by Jon Jay not enough for Royals against Twins," 28 May 2018 Riverside scored three runs in the third and fourth innings to take an 8-6 lead, but Reagan reclaimed the lead with four runs in the fifth. Mark Stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee Riverside and Milwaukee Reagan deal with adversity in back-and-forth, controversial affair," 26 May 2018 After the Cavaliers tied the game at 3 in the top of the fifth inning, the Patriots found good fortune to reclaim the lead with one out in the bottom half. Glenn Graham,, "No. 1 John Carroll baseball stays undefeated with 5-3 win over No. 6 Archbishop Spalding," 20 Apr. 2018 Portland finally crept its way back into the lead with a 3-pointer from Moe Harkless, Nikola Mirotic immediately answered with a three of his own to reclaim the lead for New Orleans. William Guillory,, "Jrue Holiday's career night puts Pelicans up 2-0 over Blazers," 17 Apr. 2018 Butler reclaimed the lead early in the second half and tied the score at 45 on a rare jump shot by Aaron Thompson. David Woods, Indianapolis Star, "Butler late rally falls short in NCAA tournament loss to Purdue," 18 Mar. 2018 Water for new features could potentially come from two sources, surface water from Lake Pleasant or reclaimed water, according to Terry Lowe, deputy city manager and water resource management director. Jen Fifield, azcentral, "Waterfront development in West Valley? Land owner says it's coming," 29 June 2019 The Dodgers reclaimed the lead in the fifth on an Alex Verdugo single off Gray. Jorge Castillo,, "Infielders’ tough inning costs Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw in loss to Rockies," 29 June 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about reclaim

Statistics for reclaim

Last Updated

22 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reclaim

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on reclaim

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with reclaim

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for reclaim

Spanish Central: Translation of reclaim

Nglish: Translation of reclaim for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reclaim for Arabic Speakers

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).


having no luck

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!