verb (used with object), re·ha·bil·i·tat·ed, re·ha·bil·i·tat·ing.
- to restore to a condition of good health, ability to work, or the like.
- to restore to good condition, operation, or management, as a bankrupt business.
- to reestablish the good reputation of (a person, one’s character or name, etc.).
- to restore formally to former capacity, standing, rank, rights, or privileges.
verb (used without object), re·ha·bil·i·tat·ed, re·ha·bil·i·tat·ing.
- to undergo rehabilitation.
- the act or process of rehabilitating
- the treatment of physical disabilities by massage, electrotherapy, or exercises
- (as modifier)rehabilitation centre
- to help (a person who has acquired a disability or addiction or who has just been released from prison) to readapt to society or a new job, as by vocational guidance, retraining, or therapy
- to restore to a former position or rank
- to restore the good reputation of
1530s, from Middle French réhabilitation and directly from Medieval Latin rehabilitationem (nominative rehabilitatio) “restoration,” noun of action from past participle stem of rehabilitare, from re- “again” (see re-) + habitare “make fit,” from Latin habilis “easily managed, fit” (see able). Specifically of criminals, addicts, etc., from 1940.
1570s, “to bring back to a former condition after decay or damage,” back-formation from rehabilitation and in part from Medieval Latin rehabilitatus, past participle of rehabilitare. Meaning “to restore one’s reputation or character in the eyes of others” is from 1847. Related: Rehabilitated; rehabilitating.
- To restore to good health or useful life, as through therapy and education.
- To restore to good condition, operation, or capacity.
In politics, the restoration to favor of a political leader whose views or actions were formerly considered unacceptable. (Compare nonperson.)