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
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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web As a result, Democrats appear to have made little progress in reclaiming their traditional advantage in the Northern battleground states, despite their sweep there in the 2018 midterms. Nate Cohn, New York Times, "One Year From Election, Trump Trails Biden but Leads Warren in Battlegrounds," 4 Nov. 2019 Though Scheff is a textbook case for reclaiming your online reputation, the fight doesn’t always have to be taken to those extremes, says Matta. Eric Spitznagel, Popular Mechanics, "The Internet Never Forgets," 1 Nov. 2019 Hill said the focus should be on reclaiming Northeast Ohioans who relocated to Columbus. Olivera Perkins, cleveland, "Greater Cleveland job growth lags regional peers; can we learn from Pittsburgh and Columbus?," 26 Oct. 2019 The Outer Worlds is a dizzying, dense shot at reclaiming the indisputable glory of Fallout: New Vegas, and the results show a studio that knows its source material well enough to understand what's worth reinventing and what's worth leaving alone. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "The Outer Worlds review: Fall deeply into the best Fallout-like game in years," 22 Oct. 2019 Likewise, Republican Party campaign operatives are targeting the 6th District race in hopes of reclaiming the seat. Lisa Donovan,, "U.S. Rep. Sean Casten, would-be challenger Jeanne Ives release fundraising numbers for closely watched west suburban 6th District congressional race," 10 Oct. 2019 In the hopes of reclaiming his star or at least salvaging his reputation (English cheddar in a French soufflé? Melissa Locker, Time, "Cheese Dispute Alert. Chef Insists He Lost Michelin Star Because of a Misguided Cheddar Assumption," 25 Sep. 2019 The Regional Water Quality Control Board’s order also allows discharge of reclaimed water at Spangler Peak Ranch for agricultural irrigation. Julie Gallant, Ramona Sentinel, "RMWD pursues untreated water study, spray field bids," 5 Sep. 2019 But the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh last year was a wakeup call, so much so that Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez was among those who spoke to a Demand Justice event aimed at circulating ideas for reclaiming the judiciary. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "The Grassroots Battle to Save Democracy," 5 Sep. 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.

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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 2019

Time Traveler for reclaim

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

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More Definitions for reclaim


How to pronounce reclaim (audio)

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.
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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More from Merriam-Webster on reclaim

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for reclaim

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with reclaim

Spanish Central: Translation of reclaim

Nglish: Translation of reclaim for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reclaim for Arabic Speakers

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