From Middle English reclaymen, recleymen, reclamen, from Anglo-Norman reclamer (noun reclaim and Middle French reclamer (noun reclaim), from Latin reclāmō, reclāmāre.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɹɪˈkleɪm/, /ɹiːˈkleɪm/
    • (file)


reclaim (third-person singular simple present reclaims, present participle reclaiming, simple past and past participle reclaimed)

  1. (transitive) To return land to a suitable condition for use.
  2. (transitive) To obtain useful products from waste; to recycle.
  3. (transitive) To claim something back; to repossess.
  4. (transitive, dated) To return someone to a proper course of action, or correct an error; to reform.
    • 1609, Edward Hoby, A Letter to Mr. T[heophilus] H[iggons], late Minister: now Fugitive ... in answere of his first Motive
      Your errour, in time reclaimed, will be veniall.
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book 6”, in Paradise Lost. A Poem Written in Ten Books, London: [] [Samuel Simmons], [], OCLC 228722708; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, OCLC 230729554:
      They, hardened more by what might most reclaim, / Grieving to see his glory [] took envy.
    • a. 1729, John Rogers, The Goodness of God a Motive to Repentance
      It is the intention of Providence, in all the various expressions of his goodness, to reclaim mankind.
  5. (transitive, archaic) To tame or domesticate a wild animal.
  6. (transitive, archaic) To call back from flight or disorderly action; to call to, for the purpose of subduing or quieting.
    • 1697, “The First Book of the Georgics”, in John Dryden, transl., The Works of Virgil: Containing His Pastorals, Georgics, and Æneis. [], London: [] Jacob Tonson, [], OCLC 403869432:
      They were the head-strong horses, who hurried Octavius [] along, and were deaf to his reclaiming them.
  7. (transitive, archaic) To cry out in opposition or contradiction; to exclaim against anything; to contradict; to take exceptions.
    • 1719, Daniel Waterland, A Vindication of Christ's Divinit
      Scripture reclaims, and the whole Catholic church reclaims, and Christian ears would not bear it.
    • 1882, Alexander Bain, Biography of James Mill
      At a later period Grote reclaimed strongly against Mill's setting Whately above Hamilton.
    • 1642, Thomas Fuller, The Holy State, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: [] Roger Daniel for John Williams, [], OCLC 1238111360:
      True it is he was very wild in his youth till God (the best Chymick who can fix quicksilver it self) gratiously reclaim'd him
  8. (obsolete, rare) To draw back; to give way.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Edmund Spenser to this entry?)
  9. (intransitive, law, Scotland) To appeal from the Lord Ordinary to the inner house of the Court of Session.
  10. (sociology) To bring back a term into acceptable usage, usually of a slur, and usually by the group that was once targeted by that slur.
    Once a term of homophobic abuse, the term “queer” has been reclaimed as a marker for some gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender (GLBT), and other marginalized sexual identities.

Related termsEdit



reclaim (plural reclaims)

  1. (obsolete, falconry) The calling back of a hawk.
  2. (obsolete) The bringing back or recalling of a person; the fetching of someone back.
  3. An effort to take something back, to reclaim something.


Old FrenchEdit


reclaim m (oblique plural reclains, nominative singular reclains, nominative plural reclaim)

  1. reputation


  • English: reclaim