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[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.
Origin of 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. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for reclaimable
Historical Examples
  • Many portions of the present deserts seem to be reclaimable.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • Grandet, as long as his wife lives is reclaimable—just reclaimable.

    Balzac Frederick Lawton
  • Some fence; some buildings; both in a sad state but reclaimable by a handy man.

    Winner Take All

    Larry Evans
  • The reclaimable area of these swamp lands is estimated at not less than 750,000 acres.

    The History of Cuba, vol. 5 Willis Fletcher Johnson
  • I had a piece of reclaimable ground on my own hands which I let for eight shillings an acre.

British Dictionary definitions for reclaimable


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 reclaimable



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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