re·​ha·​bil·​i·​ta·​tion ˌrē-ə-ˌbi-lə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce rehabilitation (audio)
plural rehabilitations
: the action, process, or result of rehabilitating or of being rehabilitated: such as
: restoration especially by therapeutic means to an improved condition of physical function
MCL injuries alone rarely necessitate surgery and heal with rest and rehabilitation.Shira Springer
The handsome barn-style building is used as a wildlife rehabilitation center, so you'll see mending hawks, eagles, or owls perching.Lora J. Finnegan
also : the process of restoring a person to a drug- or alcohol-free state
… the tabloid feeding frenzy surrounding his drug bust and ensuing rehabilitation for heroin addiction last year. Joyce Millman
: the process of restoring someone (such as a criminal) to a useful and constructive place in society
the rehabilitation of prisoners
a prison rehabilitation program
: the restoration of something damaged or deteriorated to a prior good condition
the rehabilitation of the neighborhood
the rehabilitation of a person's reputation

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web May 15, 2023 The TV personality will undergo physical rehabilitation three days a week and that will likely continue for a few months. Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times, 15 May 2023 Sure enough, Ward was having a stroke, and ultimately required a year of rehabilitation to regain speech and mobility. Nick Blackmer, Verywell Health, 3 May 2023 Though Mobley said the trauma of any imprisonment is severe, people incarcerated in federal prisons rather than state prisons typically experience better conditions with more opportunities for rehabilitation. Alex Riggins, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 May 2023 Alaska SeaLife Center, a public aquarium and the state’s only permanent marine mammal rehabilitation facility, is another popular attraction. Patricia Doherty, Travel + Leisure, 17 Apr. 2023 Susan Hillier is a professor of neuroscience and rehabilitation at the University of South Australia. Ashleigh E. Smith, CNN, 16 Apr. 2023 This is a piece about the nature of parole hearings and who gets to determine the threshold for rehabilitation. Vulture, 6 Apr. 2023 Coach Darvin Ham said James' rehabilitation sessions are going well. Greg Beacham, ajc, 18 Mar. 2023 Much more than a gimmick, Oldenburg’s prison screenings are integrated into the facility’s rehabilitation programs. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 16 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'rehabilitation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of rehabilitation was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near rehabilitation

Cite this Entry

“Rehabilitation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jun. 2023.

Medical Definition


re·​ha·​bil·​i·​ta·​tion ˌrē-(h)ə-ˌbil-ə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce rehabilitation (audio)
often attributive
: the action or process of rehabilitating or of being rehabilitated: as
: the physical restoration of a sick or disabled person by therapeutic measures and reeducation to participation in the activities of a normal life within the limitations of the person's physical disability
rehabilitation after coronary occlusion
: the process of restoring an individual to a useful and constructive place in society especially through some form of vocational, correctional, or therapeutic retraining
: the result of rehabilitating : the state of being rehabilitated
rehabilitation of the patient

More from Merriam-Webster on rehabilitation

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