from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To set right; correct.
  • transitive v. To correct by calculation or adjustment. See Synonyms at correct.
  • transitive v. Chemistry To refine or purify, especially by distillation.
  • transitive v. Electronics To convert (alternating current) into direct current.
  • transitive v. To adjust (the proof of alcoholic beverages) by adding water or other liquids.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To correct or amend something.
  • v. To purify or refine, especially by distillation.
  • v. To convert alternating current into direct current.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To make or set right; to correct from a wrong, erroneous, or false state; to amend
  • transitive v. To refine or purify by repeated distillation or sublimation, by which the fine parts of a substance are separated from the grosser.
  • transitive v. To produce ( as factitious gin or brandy) by redistilling low wines or ardent spirits (whisky, rum, etc.), flavoring substances, etc., being added.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make right or straight; correct when wrong, erroneous, or false; amend: as, to rectify errors, mistakes, or abuses: sometimes applied to persons.
  • Specifically In distilling:
  • To remove impurities from (an alcoholic distillate) and raise to a required proof or strength by repeated distillation.
  • Hence— To bring (a. spirit) by repeated distillation to the strength required, and at the same time to impart to it the desired flavor. See rectifier.
  • In chemical manuf. and in pharmacy:
  • To separate impurities from (a crystalline body) by dissolving and recrystallizing it, sometimes repeatedly, and sometimes also with intermediate washing of the crystals.
  • To raise (a liquid) to a prescribed strength by extraction of some part of its liquid components.
  • To remove impurities from (solutions) by filtering them through substances absorbent of dissolved impurities, but non-absorbent of, and chemically inactive upon, the substance to be purified. Of such materials bone-black is a typical example, especially in sugar-refining
  • To purify by one or more resublimations.
  • In mathematics, to determine the length of (a curve, or a part of a curve) included between two limits.
  • In the use of the globes, to place (a globe) in such a position that the solution of a given problem may be effected with it.
  • Synonyms Improve, Better, etc. (see amend), redress, adjust, regulate.
  • In electricity, to change (an alternating electric current) into a direct current by redirecting the successively opposite impulses of the alternating current so as to flow in the same direction. See rectifier .

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. set straight or right
  • v. reduce to a fine, unmixed, or pure state; separate from extraneous matter or cleanse from impurities
  • v. math: determine the length of
  • v. bring, lead, or force to abandon a wrong or evil course of life, conduct, and adopt a right one
  • v. make right or correct
  • v. convert into direct current


Middle English rectifien, from Old French rectifier, from Medieval Latin rēctificāre : Latin rēctus, right; see reg- in Indo-European roots + Latin -ficāre, -fy.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French rectifier ("to make straight"), from Medieval Latin rēctificāre ("make right"), from Latin rēctus ("straight") (Wiktionary)


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