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

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 Of those, fewer than 300,000 were taking advantage of the TTW incentives missing an opportunity to return to work and reclaim personal and professional satisfaction. Diane Winiarski, Forbes, 19 Feb. 2024 Ukrainian forces reclaimed control of the city and fortified it, but the fighting continued. Kostiantyn Khudov, Washington Post, 18 Feb. 2024 On Monday, Jon Stewart reclaimed his place at The Daily Show desk and brought in 1.9 million viewers—the most the show has seen since 2018. Angela Watercutter, WIRED, 16 Feb. 2024 But a few bakers and pastry chefs are reclaiming the method, precisely for its retro, mass-market aesthetic. Zoey Poll Katja Mayer, New York Times, 15 Feb. 2024 Three decades ago, Tina Turner reclaimed her history with the soundtrack album for the movie What’s Love Got to Do With It. Kory Grow, Rolling Stone, 14 Feb. 2024 On Tuesday, Suozzi — a former congressman who previously represented Santos' district — won the high-profile special election to reclaim his old seat, which is made up of parts of Long Island and Queens. Virginia Chamlee, Peoplemag, 14 Feb. 2024 Burford said he’s received an apology from Feliciano, and the focus now becomes offseason training to reclaim the starting job. Cam Inman, The Mercury News, 13 Feb. 2024 Most of the Magnificent Seven stocks have reclaimed their leadership of the market this year, with shares of Nvidia, Meta Platforms, Alphabet and Microsoft reaching record highs. Krystal Hur, CNN, 8 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'reclaim.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 Mar. 2024.

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

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