verb (1)
re·​cov·​er | \ri-ˈkə-vər \
recovered; recovering\ ri-​ˈkə-​və-​riŋ , -​ˈkəv-​riŋ \

Definition of recover 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to get back : regain

2a : to bring back to normal position or condition stumbled, then recovered himself

b archaic : rescue

3a : to make up for recover increased costs through higher prices

b : to gain by legal process

4 archaic : reach

5 : to find or identify again recover a comet

6a : to obtain from an ore, a waste product, or a by-product

b : to save from loss and restore to usefulness : reclaim

intransitive verb

1 : to regain a normal position or condition (as of health) recovering from a cold

2 : to obtain a final legal judgment in one's favor


verb (2)
re-cov·​er | \(ˌ)rē-ˈkə-vər \
re-covered; re-covering; re-covers

Definition of re-cover (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to cover again or anew

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Other Words from recover

Verb (1)

recoverability \ ri-​ˌkə-​və-​rə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē , -​ˌkəv-​rə-​ \ noun
recoverable \ ri-​ˈkə-​və-​rə-​bəl , -​ˈkəv-​rə-​ \ adjective
recoverer \ ri-​ˈkə-​vər-​ər \ noun

Synonyms for recover

Synonyms: Verb (1)

come back, convalesce, gain, heal, mend, pull round [chiefly British], rally, recoup, recuperate, snap back

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Examples of recover in a Sentence

Verb (1)

She had a heart attack but is recovering well. Share prices will be down until the economy recovers. She recovered consciousness in the hospital. I slipped, but somehow recovered my balance. He suffered a stroke and hasn't yet recovered the use of his left arm. The police recovered his stolen wallet. The program helps users recover computer files that have been deleted.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The four bottles of eye drops recovered had a value of $30.56. Staff Report,, "Norridge and Harwood Heights police reports," 13 July 2018 Hill tracks his partner to the Siberian city of Mirny, chartering a private jet to the remote gem-mining outpost in hopes of locating Pyotr and recovering the missing samples. Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Siberia': Film Review," 13 July 2018 The pair eventually finalized their divorce after Odom recovered in 2016. Jennifer Earl, Fox News, "Lamar Odom on moving to China: 'It’s a huge step for me'," 13 July 2018 Trainers noticed Jordan was having problems recovering. Don Markus,, "DJ Durkin was at workout where Jordan McNair was carted off, according to summary released by Maryland," 12 July 2018 The repatriation under discussion now would be the first since the work of American military experts and North Korean workers from 1996 to 2005 who recovered remains believed to be those of more than 220 American soldiers. New York Times, "North Koreans Are No-Shows at Meeting to Discuss U.S. Soldiers’ Remains," 12 July 2018 Industrial companies, including aerospace firms, also contributed to Thursday’s better performance, recovering some of the losses those firms suffered during Wednesday’s selloff. Michael Wursthorn, WSJ, "U.S. Stocks Regain Ground After Losses," 12 July 2018 Police arrested 11 people, recovered six firearms — including two that had been stolen — and impounded numerous vehicles. Alexis Stevens, ajc, "Police, troopers crack down on dirt bikes, ATVs on Atlanta streets," 12 July 2018 On July 4, Jones allegedly used a brick to beat Rodriguez, who is recovering from two broken ribs, a broken cheekbone and bruising across much of his body, the statement says. Chris Harris,, "California Woman Arrested After Allegedly Beating Man, 92, and Telling Him 'Go Back to Mexico'," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'recover.' 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 recover

Verb (1)

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

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for recover

Verb (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French recoverer, from Latin recuperare, from re- + *caperare, from Latin capere to take — more at heave

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Statistics for recover

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for recover

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

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More Definitions for recover



English Language Learners Definition of recover

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to become healthy after an illness or injury : to return to normal health

: to return to a normal state after a period of difficulty

: to get (something, such as an ability or feeling) again



English Language Learners Definition of re-cover (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cover (something) again : to put a new cover on (something)


re·​cov·​er | \ri-ˈkə-vər \
recovered; recovering

Kids Definition of recover

1 : to get back : regain I recovered my lost wallet. Mary began to recover her breath and feel safer …— Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden

2 : to regain or return to a normal or usual state (as of health or composure Have you recovered from the flu?

3 : to make up for We can't recover lost time.

re·​cov·​er | \ri-ˈkəv-ər \
recovered; recovering\ -​(ə-​)riŋ \

Medical Definition of recover 

: to regain a normal position or condition (as of health) recovering from the effects of a cold

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transitive verb
re·​cov·​er | \ri-ˈkə-vər \

Legal Definition of recover 

1 : to get back or get back an equivalent for recover costs through higher prices

2a : to obtain or get back (as damages, satisfaction for a debt, or property) through a judgment or decree recover damages in a tort action

b : to obtain (a judgment) in one's favor

intransitive verb

1 : to get something back

2 : to obtain damages or something else through a judgment argued that the plaintiff should not be permitted to recover

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Comments on recover

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