Definition of rehabilitate in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌrē(h)əˈbiləˌtāt/


[with object]
1Restore (someone) to health or normal life by training and therapy after imprisonment, addiction, or illness: helping to rehabilitate former criminals
More example sentences
  • Steps should be taken to restore peace, rehabilitate the affected persons and to create confidence and sense of security among them.
  • Primary health care is a patient's first point of contact with the health-care system and includes promoting health, preventing disease, and treating and rehabilitating patients.
  • All the patients were rehabilitated according to a modern protocol, permitting immediate full weight bearing and full range of motion.
restore to normality, reintegrate, readapt
informal rehab
reinstate, restore, bring back;
pardon, absolve, exonerate, forgive
formal exculpate
1.1Restore (someone) to former privileges or reputation after a period of critical or official disfavor: with the fall of the government many former dissidents were rehabilitated
More example sentences
  • More recently the Victorian tycoon's reputation has been rehabilitated.
  • Some people might be asking is this an attempt for you to try to rehabilitate your reputation?
  • Reputations are rehabilitated or discredited.
1.2Return (something, especially an environmental feature) to its former condition.
Example sentences
  • The military has even been called in to assist in environmental cleanup, promote wildlife conservation, rehabilitate public housing, rebuild bridges, and aid in other community projects.
  • In just five years' time, he's whittled down the amount he owes on a $150,000 loan, taken out to rehabilitate his first building, to $58,000.
  • The developer originally applied for tax credits for rehabilitating a historic building, but the credits came with a stipulation that the original plastered ceilings and walls be preserved.
recondition, restore, renovate, refurbish, revamp, overhaul, redevelop, rebuild, reconstruct;
redecorate, spruce up;
upgrade, refit, modernize
informal do up, rehab, refurb



Pronunciation: /-ˌtātiv/
Example sentences
  • He said one of the key objectives would be the prevention of diseases along with curative and rehabilitative service.
  • However, the physical presence of the mother is recommended as part of the rehabilitative efforts undertaken for the child, since it is believed that she is the best teacher, though she may not be technically qualified.
  • The persistent offender scheme is devised to catch, convict and provide effective rehabilitative support to these most prolific offenders.


Late 16th century (earlier (late 15th century) as rehabilitation) (in the sense 'restore to former privileges'): from medieval Latin rehabilitat-, from the verb rehabilitare (see re-, habilitate).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·ha·bil·i·tate

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