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[ree-kleym] /riˈkleɪm/
verb (used with object)
to claim or demand the return or restoration of, as a right, possession, etc.
to claim again.
Also, reclaim.
Origin of re-claim
1400-50; late Middle English. See re-, claim
Can be confused
re-claim, reclaim.


[ri-kleym] /rɪˈkleɪm/
verb (used with object)
to bring (uncultivated areas or wasteland) into a condition for cultivation or other use.
to recover (substances) in a pure or usable form from refuse, discarded articles, etc.
to bring back to a preferable manner of living, sound principles, ideas, etc.
to tame.
verb (used without object)
to protest; object.
beyond reclaim.
1250-1300; (v.) Middle English recla(i)men < Old French reclamer (tonic stem reclaim-) < Latin reclāmāre to cry out against, equivalent to re- re- + clāmāre to claim; (noun) Middle English reclaim(e) < Old French reclaim, reclam, derivative of reclamer
Related forms
reclaimable, adjective
reclaimer, noun
nonreclaimable, adjective
unreclaimable, adjective
Can be confused
re-claim, reclaim.
2. regain, restore. See recover. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for reclaim
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This man did his best to reclaim young Badman, and was particularly kind to him.

    Bunyan James Anthony Froude
  • I cannot tell how she feels toward him; I know she has often tried to reclaim him from his deviltry.

    Whispering Smith Frank H. Spearman
  • Siloti did not reclaim the furniture after Tchaikovskys death, and it stands at present in the house at Klin.

  • And this is why I have come to warn, to reclaim you, if possible.

    A Little Girl in Old Detroit Amanda Minnie Douglas
  • So you have come to reclaim your strays, is that it, Colonel Haywood?

British Dictionary definitions for reclaim


verb (transitive)
to claim back: to reclaim baggage
to convert (desert, marsh, waste ground, etc) into land suitable for growing crops
to recover (useful substances) from waste products
to convert (someone) from sin, folly, vice, etc
(falconry) to render (a hawk or falcon) tame
the act of reclaiming or state of being reclaimed
Derived Forms
reclaimable, adjective
reclaimant, reclaimer, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French réclamer, from Latin reclāmāre to cry out, protest, from re- + clāmāre to shout
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for reclaim

early 14c., "call back a hawk to the glove," from Old French reclamer "to call upon, invoke; claim; seduce; to call back a hawk" (12c.) and directly from Latin reclamare "cry out against, contradict, protest, appeal," from re- "opposite, against" (see re-) + clamare "cry out" (see claim (v.)).

"Call back a hawk," hence "to make tame" (mid-15c.), "subdue, reduce to obedience, make amenable to control" (late 14c.). In many Middle English uses with no sense of return or reciprocation. Meaning "revoke" (a grant, gift, etc.) is from late 15c. That of "recall (someone) from an erring course to a proper state" is mid-15c. Sense of "get back by effort" might reflect influence of claim. Meaning "bring waste land into useful condition fit for cultivation" first attested 1764, probably on notion of "reduce to obedience." Related: Reclaimed; reclaiming.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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