rec·ti·fy | \ ˈrek-tə-ˌfī \
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 \ 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

The report’s main decision came down to this: Scientists need more money and reasonable access to federally approved cannabis to rectify the situation. Union-Tribune interns Danielle Hernandez and Emma Rooholfada contributed to this story. Gary Robbins,, "Consumers are being flooded with dubious claims about the health benefits of marijuana," 9 July 2018 Airone and others hope that SB 829 will rectify that situation. Rachel Swan, San Francisco Chronicle, "Lawmaker seeks to ease tax burden on groups that give free medical cannabis," 24 May 2018 The error was identified within a matter of minutes, and then rectified. Fortune, "'This Was an Operational Error.' Deutsche Bank Accidentally Transferred $35 Billion It Didn't Owe," 20 Apr. 2018 But Season 2 of the Freeform show has started off by rectifying the most glaring omission of its preceding installment: the incongruous characterization of Kat, the only lead of color. Hannah Giorgis, The Atlantic, "The Bold Type Delivers on Its Leads," 13 June 2018 But the circus elephants’ retirement is one case, at least, where understanding history may have helped us to rectify the sins of the past. Amy Crawford,, "Why is history always about humans?," 13 July 2018 In April, amid rising trade tensions between the United States and China, the Commerce Department barred ZTE’s American suppliers from doing business with the company for failing to rectify the sanctions issue. Claire Ballentine, New York Times, "U.S. Lifts Ban That Kept ZTE From Doing Business With American Suppliers," 13 July 2018 President Trump’s appointment of Justice Gorsuch last year has now allowed the Court to rectify its 40-year constitutional error. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Supreme Court’s Banner Year," 27 June 2018 Any solution that would rectify its finances will probably require more taxes and more benefit cuts — all coming out of the pockets of younger workers. Ben Steverman,, "Young Americans are waking up to their grim financial future," 22 June 2018

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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Statistics for rectify

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rectify

The first known use of rectify was circa 1529

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More Definitions for rectify



English Language Learners Definition of rectify

: to correct (something that is wrong)


rec·ti·fy | \ ˈrek-tə-ˌfī \
rectified; rectifying

Kids Definition of rectify

: to set or make right She promised to rectify the problem.


transitive verb
rec·ti·fy | \ ˈrek-tə-ˌfī \
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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Comments on rectify

What made you want to look up rectify? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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