rec·​ti·​fy | \ ˈrek-tə-ˌfī How to pronounce rectify (audio) \
rectified; rectifying

Definition of rectify

transitive verb

1 : to set right : remedy
2 : to purify especially by repeated or fractional distillation rectified alcohol
3 : to correct by removing errors : adjust rectify the calendar
4 : to make (an alternating current) unidirectional

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Other Words from rectify

rectification \ ˌrek-​tə-​fə-​ˈkā-​shən How to pronounce rectification (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for rectify

correct, rectify, emend, remedy, redress, amend, reform, revise mean to make right what is wrong. correct implies taking action to remove errors, faults, deviations, defects. correct your spelling rectify implies a more essential changing to make something right, just, or properly controlled or directed. rectify a misguided policy emend specifically implies correction of a text or manuscript. emend a text remedy implies removing or making harmless a cause of trouble, harm, or evil. set out to remedy the evils of the world redress implies making compensation or reparation for an unfairness, injustice, or imbalance. redress past social injustices amend, reform, revise imply an improving by making corrective changes, amend usually suggesting slight changes amend a law , reform implying drastic change plans to reform the court system , and revise suggesting a careful examination of something and the making of necessary changes. revise the schedule

Did You Know?

Which of the following words does not share its ancestry with rectifydirect, regimen, obstruct, correct, or resurrection? Like rectify, four of these words ultimately come from Latin regere, which can mean "to lead straight," "to direct," or "to rule." Correct and direct come from regere via Latin corrigere and dirigere, respectively. Resurrection comes from Latin resurgere, whose stem surgere, meaning "to rise," is a combination of sub- and regere. Regimen is from Latin regimen ("position of authority," "direction," "set of rules"), itself from regere. And rectify is from regere by way of Latin rectus ("right"). Obstruct is the only one of the set that has no relation to rectify. It traces back to Latin struere, meaning "to build" or "to heap up."

Examples of rectify in a Sentence

The hotel management promised to rectify the problem. let me get the store manager, and he'll rectify the invoice for your order
Recent Examples on the Web Modern MacBook keyboards are Apple's biggest blunder in recent memory, but the company is finally taking steps to rectify the mistake. Wired, "Apple's MacBook Pro Gets an All-New Keyboard," 13 Nov. 2019 An Oscar nomination for Hustlers would help rectify all these injustices, but there are so many more Lopez moments that deserve praise in the form of shiny gold statues. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Jennifer Lopez Should Have Won an Oscar Years Ago," 18 Sep. 2019 Notably missing from the post was Zoë Kravitz, who plays Bonnie Carlson on the show, so Witherspoon decided to rectify that. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Reese Witherspoon Just Photoshopped Zoë Kravitz Into a Big Little Lies Cast Selfie," 6 Apr. 2019 James helped the Lakers to a 113-103 win over the Bucks on Friday at Staples Center, which did more than just rectify a seven-point loss in Milwaukee nearly three months ago. Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "Opinion: LeBron James vs. Giannis Antetokounmpo: Lakers coach says 'LeBron got the upper hand'," 7 Mar. 2020 For one thing, Caesar decreed a 445-day-long year in 46 B.C. to rectify the calendars in one fell swoop. National Geographic, "Why ‘hidden figures’ isn’t a label of pride," 26 Feb. 2020 To rectify this, the Jif marketing team has launched a dedicated portal at Giphy, though even this portal offers a concession to the core linguistic issue. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "A peanut butter brand has put its spoon into the GIF pronunciation debate," 25 Feb. 2020 Getting rid of the Senate entirely—the reform that would do the most to rectify our system’s inequities—would require a permanent surrender of power from states needed to ratify the necessary constitutional amendment. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "End the GOP," 13 Feb. 2020 StubHub allegedly failed to rectify the accounting errors after being informed and has jeopardized Spotlight’s partnership with American Express in retaliation, potentially costing Spotlight millions. Taylor Mims, Billboard, "StubHub Hit With Lawsuit Claiming Unpaid Commissions on Millions of Sales," 17 Jan. 2020

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

circa 1529, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for rectify

Middle English rectifien, from Anglo-French rectifier, from Medieval Latin rectificare, from Latin rectus right — more at right

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Time Traveler for rectify

Time Traveler

The first known use of rectify was circa 1529

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Last Updated

31 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rectify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for rectify


How to pronounce rectify (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of rectify

formal : to correct (something that is wrong)


rec·​ti·​fy | \ ˈrek-tə-ˌfī How to pronounce rectify (audio) \
rectified; rectifying

Kids Definition of rectify

: to set or make right She promised to rectify the problem.
rec·​ti·​fy | \ ˈrek-tə-ˌfī How to pronounce rectify (audio) \
rectified; rectifying

Medical Definition of rectify

1 : to purify (as alcohol) especially by repeated or fractional distillation
2 : to make (an alternating current) unidirectional

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More from Merriam-Webster on rectify

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rectify

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rectify

Spanish Central: Translation of rectify

Nglish: Translation of rectify for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rectify for Arabic Speakers

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