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

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 1 Dec. 2022.

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

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