re·​ha·​bil·​i·​ta·​tion | \ ˌrē-ə-ˌbi-lə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce rehabilitation (audio) , ˌrē-hə- \
plural rehabilitations

Definition of rehabilitation

: the action, process, or result of rehabilitating or of being rehabilitated: such as
a : 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
b : 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
c : the restoration of something damaged or deteriorated to a prior good condition the rehabilitation of the neighborhood the rehabilitation of a person's reputation

First Known Use of rehabilitation

15th century, in the meaning defined above

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

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Cite this Entry

“Rehabilitation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for rehabilitation


noun, often attributive
re·​ha·​bil·​i·​ta·​tion | \ ˌrē-(h)ə-ˌbil-ə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce rehabilitation (audio) \

Medical Definition of rehabilitation

1 : the action or process of rehabilitating or of being rehabilitated: as
a : 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
b : the process of restoring an individual to a useful and constructive place in society especially through some form of vocational, correctional, or therapeutic retraining
2 : the result of rehabilitating : the state of being rehabilitated rehabilitation of the patient

More from Merriam-Webster on rehabilitation

Nglish: Translation of rehabilitation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rehabilitation for Arabic Speakers


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