verb re·claim \ ri-ˈklām \
Updated on: 16 Nov 2017

Definition of reclaim

transitive verb
1 a :to recall from wrong or improper conduct :reform
b :tame, subdue
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


play \ri-ˈklā-mə-bəl\ adjective

Examples of reclaim in a Sentence

  1. Sons and daughters are proudly reclaiming the traditions that their parents had forgotten.

  2. She reclaimed the title of world champion this year.

  3. You might be able to reclaim some of the money you contributed.

  4. Environmental groups have been reclaiming contaminated sites.

  5. Acres of land were reclaimed by conservationists.

  6. The factory reclaims fibers from textile wastes.

Recent Examples of reclaim from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of reclaim

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

RECLAIM Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of reclaim for English Language Learners

  • : 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

RECLAIM Defined for Kids


verb re·claim \ ri-ˈklām \

Definition of reclaim for Students

reclaimed; reclaiming
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.

Law Dictionary


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
2 a :to demand the return of by right
b :to regain possession of

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to praise usually to excess

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