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 Scooter Braun, on the other hand, claims that his family has received death threats due to his ongoing feud with Taylor and said he was committed to rectify the situation. Jasmine Gomez, Seventeen, "6 of the Craziest Celeb Feuds of 2019," 13 Dec. 2019 MADISON - A Madison landlord overcharged the state $68,000 for utilities over nine years but rectified the situation after a whistleblower raised the issue with state auditors. Patrick Marley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Real estate firm reimburses state $68,000 after overcharging the Department of Corrections for years," 10 Dec. 2019 The owner realized the error of her ways, rectified the situation, and removed the faux cat ears. Melissa Locker, Time, "Reasonable Cat Throws a Tantrum Over Unoriginal Owner Who Dressed as a Cat," 31 Oct. 2019 Chytil said the school could have been more personal, more willing to admit its mistake and rectify the situation. Rachel Leingang, azcentral, "GCU student claims she was recruited on a false promise, forced to alter career plan," 25 June 2019 Even the possible inclusion of Durant might not be enough to rectify the situation. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, "Kurtenbach: The Warriors have lost their identity, and probably the NBA Finals, too," 8 June 2019 The Miami Dolphins have made another adjustment in their continued quest to rectify their offensive line situation before the 2019 season begins. Safid Deen,, "Dolphins’ Jesse Davis welcomes move to new position on offensive line," 4 June 2019 According to the spokesperson, that systems issue has recently been rectified and customers who placed orders before 1 p.m. PT on Dec. 14 will receive those orders before Christmas. NBC News, "Customers of Yankee Candle have their hopes snuffed out as shipments might miss Christmas," 17 Dec. 2019 Still, O’Brien is hopeful Zellweger’s performance could help rectify one of the greatest Oscar snubs in Academy Awards history. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Judy Garland onscreen sister Margaret O'Brien praises Renée Zellweger's take on the legend," 29 Nov. 2019

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

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Rectify.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 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

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).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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