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From the participle stem of Late Latin rehabilitare, from Latin re- + habilitāre.


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɹiː(h)əˈbɪlɪteɪt/


rehabilitate (third-person singular simple present rehabilitates, present participle rehabilitating, simple past and past participle rehabilitated)

  1. (transitive) To restore (someone) to their former state, reputation, possessions, status etc. [from 16th c.]
  2. (transitive) To vindicate; to restore the reputation or image of (a person, concept etc.). [from 18th c.]
  3. (transitive) To return (something) to its original condition. [from 19th c.]
  4. (transitive, Canada, US, construction) To restore or repair (a vehicle, building); to make habitable or usable again. [from 19th c.]
  5. (transitive, criminology) To restore to (a criminal etc.) the necessary training and education to allow for a successful reintegration into society; to retrain. [from 19th c.]
  6. (transitive, medicine) To return (someone) to good health after illness, addiction, etc. [from 19th c.]
  7. (intransitive) To go through such a process; to recover. [from 20th c.]


  • 1967, “Alice's Restaurant”, in Alice's Restaurant, performed by Arlo Guthrie:
    I turned over the piece of paper, and there, there on the other side, in the middle of the other side, away from everything else on the other side, in parenthesis, capital letters, quotated, read the following words:
  • 2006, Ann Coulter, Godless: The Church of Liberalism, Crown Forum, →ISBN:
    Attempts to rehabilitate liberals on this point are futile. It's in their DNA.

Derived terms[edit]