reclaim

verb

re·​claim ri-ˈklām How to pronounce reclaim (audio)
reclaimed; reclaiming; reclaims

transitive verb

1
a
: to recall from wrong or improper conduct : reform
b
2
a
: 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
4
a
: to demand or obtain the return of
b
: to regain possession of
reclaimable 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

Example Sentences

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 With the release of her new album Midnights, Taylor Swift is poised to reclaim her weekly record-sales title from Harry Styles, who eclipsed her previous album’s sales back in June. Aryn Baker, Time, 21 Oct. 2022 Wick tried to reclaim credit for the locally famous protest by redoing it. oregonlive, 27 Sep. 2022 The analysts said Putin calculated that any Western response to an attempt to reclaim Ukraine by force would be big on outrage but limited in actual punishment. Liz Sly, Washington Post, 16 Aug. 2022 The Netflix series, like the manga, will tell the story of Anzu Murata, a young woman who infiltrates the house of the wealthy Mitarai family as a housekeeper in order to reclaim the life that was taken from her. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 July 2022 Laced with humor, Le Lambeau recounts Lançon’s recovery and his effort to reclaim his life. Andrew Aoyama, The Atlantic, 3 June 2022 Max Rose, a Democrat looking to reclaim his New York seat from Representative Nicole Malliotakis, one of the Republicans who voted to overturn the election results, called on his opponent to condemn the remarks. New York Times, 30 Jan. 2022 But Republicans notched several important victories in their bid to get to the 218 seats needed to reclaim the House majority. Sara Burnett, Jill Colvin And Will Weissert, Anchorage Daily News, 9 Nov. 2022 Donna Korn, a Broward School Board member suspended by Gov. Ron DeSantis following a scathing grand jury report, was struggling Tuesday night to reclaim her seat. Scott Travis, Sun Sentinel, 9 Nov. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

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

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

Dictionary Entries Near reclaim

Cite this Entry

“Reclaim.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reclaim. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

reclaim

verb

re·​claim ri-ˈklām How to pronounce reclaim (audio)
1
: to make someone better in behavior or character : reform
reclaim criminals
2
: to change to a desirable condition or state
reclaim the desert for agriculture
also : to restore to a previous natural state
reclaim mining sites
3
: to obtain from a waste product or by-product : recover
reclaimed wool
reclaimable adjective

Legal Definition

reclaim

transitive verb

re·​claim ˌrē-ˈklām How to pronounce reclaim (audio)
1
: to make fit or available for human use
reclaiming land that had been strip-mined
2
a
: to demand the return of by right
b
: to regain possession of

More from Merriam-Webster on reclaim

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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