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 rectify (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 The high false-negative rate exposed a series of problems China would take weeks to rectify. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, "Leaked documents reveal China's mishandling of the early stages of Covid-19," 30 Nov. 2020 Defendants in that first case, which include the Oregon Department of Administrative Services and a nonprofit group called The Contingent that is administering the fund, maintained the fund is designed to rectify ongoing discrimination. oregonlive, "Revolución Coffee’s owner sues for access to state’s $62 million fund for Black Oregonians," 20 Nov. 2020 State elections officials scrambled to rectify their mistake before the general election. Hallie Miller,, "Coronavirus in Maryland: 5 takeaways from the week," 6 Nov. 2020 In recent years, feminist critics and programmers have attempted to rectify Clarke’s omission from the avant-garde and independent canon. Sarah Cowan, The New York Review of Books, "The Complicated Camera of Filmmaker Shirley Clarke," 10 Oct. 2020 Apple also reiterates its position, previously supported by the court, that Epic's harm in this matter is self-inflicted and thus does not require a preliminary injunction to rectify. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Apple asks to block iOS Unreal Engine development in new court filing," 16 Sep. 2020 Lawmakers on Christmas Eve blocked each other’s competing bills that attempted to rectify President Trump’s objections to a massive spending and coronavirus aid package. Susan Ferrechio, Washington Examiner, "Christmas chaos: Lawmakers block competing bills amid Trump threat to reject COVID-19 aid," 24 Dec. 2020 The bill passed this week would rectify some of those shortcomings. Kim Christensen, Los Angeles Times, "Congress approves hospice care reforms to improve oversight, transparency," 23 Dec. 2020 One, can George rectify what became a disappointing first season with the Clippers? Mark Medina, USA TODAY, "Clippers’ Paul George: 'I owe them a trophy" and have 'a responsibility' to convince Kawhi Leonard to stay long-term," 11 Dec. 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

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rectify.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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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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Comments on rectify

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