verb (used with object), re·ha·bil·i·tat·ed, re·ha·bil·i·tat·ing.

  1. to restore to a condition of good health, ability to work, or the like.
  2. to restore to good condition, operation, or management, as a bankrupt business.
  3. to reestablish the good reputation of (a person, one’s character or name, etc.).
  4. 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.

  1. to undergo rehabilitation.


  1. the act or process of rehabilitating
  2. med
    1. the treatment of physical disabilities by massage, electrotherapy, or exercises
    2. (as modifier)rehabilitation centre

verb (tr)

  1. 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
  2. to restore to a former position or rank
  3. 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.


  1. To restore to good health or useful life, as through therapy and education.
  2. 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.)

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