Open main menu
See also: re-cover



Alternative formsEdit

Etymology 1Edit

Borrowed from Anglo-Norman recoverer and Old French recovrer, from Latin recuperō, recuperāre, a late form of reciperō. Doublet of recuperate.



recover (third-person singular simple present recovers, present participle recovering, simple past and past participle recovered)

  1. (transitive) To get back, regain (a physical thing lost etc.).
    After days of inquiries, he finally recovered his lost wallet.
    • Bible, 1 Sam. xxx. 18
      David recovered all that the Amalekites had carried away.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 22, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      Not unnaturally, “Auntie” took this communication in bad part. Thus outraged, she showed herself to be a bold as well as a furious virago. Next day she found her way to their lodgings and tried to recover her ward by the hair of the head.
  2. (transitive) To return to, resume (a given state of mind or body).
    At the top of the hill I asked to stop for a few minutes to recover my strength.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To reach (a place), arrive at.
    • Fuller
      With much ado the Christians recovered to Antioch.
    • Shakespeare
      The forest is not three leagues off; / If we recover that, we're sure enough.
    • Hales
      Except he could recover one of the Cities of Refuge he was to die.
  4. (transitive, archaic) To restore to good health, consciousness, life etc.
    • Shakespeare
      The wine in my bottle will recover him.
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069; The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd corrected and augmented edition, Oxford: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, 1624, OCLC 54573970:
      , vol.I, New York, 2001, p.233-4:
      Cnelius a physician [] gave him a clyster, by which he was speedily recovered.
    • Bible, 2. Tim. ii. 26
      that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him
  5. (transitive, archaic) To make good by reparation; to make up for; to retrieve; to repair the loss or injury of.
    to recover lost time
    • Rogers
      Even good men have many failings and lapses to lament and recover.
  6. (transitive, archaic) To get better from; to get over.
    To the end of his days, he never fully recovered his daughter's death.
    • Cowley
      I do hope to recover my late hurt.
    • De Foe
      when I had recovered a little my first surprise
  7. (intransitive) To get better, regain one's health.
    I was hurt, but I knew I'd recover, given time.
  8. (intransitive) To regain one's composure, balance etc.
    Spinning round, he caught a stone with his ankle, but recovered quickly before turning to face me.
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 19, in The China Governess:
      Meanwhile Nanny Broome was recovering from her initial panic and seemed anxious to make up for any kudos she might have lost, by exerting her personality to the utmost. She took the policeman's helmet and placed it on a chair, and unfolded his tunic to shake it and fold it up again for him.
  9. (intransitive, law) To obtain a judgement; to succeed in a lawsuit.
    The plaintiff has recovered in his suit.
  10. (transitive, law) To gain as compensation or reparation.
    to recover damages in trespass; to recover debt and costs in a suit at law
    to recover lands in ejectment or common recovery
  11. (transitive, law) To gain by legal process.
    to recover judgement against a defendant
Related termsEdit


recover (plural recovers)

  1. (obsolete) Recovery. [14th-17thc.]
    • 1485, Sir Thomas Malory, chapter xiiij, in Le Morte Darthur, book XX:
      It was neuer in my thoughte saide laūcelot to withholde the quene from my lord Arthur / but in soo moche she shold haue ben dede for my sake / me semeth it was my parte to saue her lyf and putte her from that daunger tyl better recouer myghte come / & now I thanke god sayd sir Launcelot that the pope hath made her pees
  2. (military) A position of holding a firearm during exercises, whereby the lock is at shoulder height and the sling facing out.
  3. (rowing) The forward movement in rowing, after one stroke to take another.

Etymology 2Edit

re- +‎ cover.



recover (third-person singular simple present recovers, present participle recovering, simple past and past participle recovered)

  1. To cover again.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Sir Walter Scott to this entry?)
  2. (roofing) To add a new roof membrane or steep-slope covering over an existing one.