verb rec·ti·fy \ ˈrek-tə-ˌfī \
Updated on: 16 Nov 2017

Definition of rectify

rectified; rectifying
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


play \ˌrek-tə-fə-ˈkā-shən\ noun

rectify was our Word of the Day on 08/09/2016. Hear the podcast!

Examples of rectify in a Sentence

  1. The hotel management promised to rectify the problem.

  2. let me get the store manager, and he'll rectify the invoice for your order

Recent Examples of rectify from the Web

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.

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."

Origin and Etymology of rectify

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

RECTIFY Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of rectify for English Language Learners

  • : to correct (something that is wrong)

RECTIFY Defined for Kids


verb rec·ti·fy \ ˈrek-tə-ˌfī \

Definition of rectify for Students

rectified; rectifying
:to set or make right
  • She promised to rectify the problem.

Medical Dictionary


transitive verb rec·ti·fy \ ˈrek-tə-ˌfī \

medical Definition of rectify

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

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