Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To use or convert for use in another format or product: repurposed the book as a compact disk.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To reuse for a different purpose, on a long-term basis, without alteration.
  • v. To alter to make more suited for a different purpose.

Etymologies

From re- +‎ purpose. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • The former may do something better than the latter, but it’s not “intelligence”; as with Howard Gardner’s shtick, that’s just trying to repurpose a word because you want to draw different conclusions.

    The Volokh Conspiracy » 1. Science, Faith, and Not Ruling Out Possibilities

  • Hey Rick Mervine, what's the "repurpose" of an abortion clinic?

    Aurora's Zoning Administrator AWOL and/or Taken to Undislcosed Location; Aurora City Council Votes 7-3 to Support Planned Parenthood Expansion

  • They comb through the many drugs that are no longer in use--- and are no longer under patent--- and "repurpose" them for new applications.

    Tech . . . Tech . . . Tech

  • Normally I cringe when companies try to "repurpose" their "catalog" like when they keep trying to make musicals out of movies and TV shows, but Krypto's old stuff worked great for this lighthearted show for the younger set.

    Space Canines Animated

  • They want to drag the best of the cable shows and "repurpose" them for broadcast standards.

    Stacey Kalish: Cable to Undergo the Knife

  • It means that a sprawling company like AOL Time Warner not only can produce news, entertainment and sports programming, but also distribute it exclusively on any one of its cable or broadcast outlets and subsequently "repurpose," or air it, on any of the rest of its networks.

    Network Synergy At Work

  • Preservation advocates say it's far better to "repurpose" beautiful old buildings no longer in use than to tear them down.

    A Sacred Mission

  • According to laurel, MTV will "repurpose" episodes of Veronica Mars.

    Zathras no more

  • The Federal Communications Commission hopes to "repurpose" 120 megahertz of spectrum through incentive auctions where television broadcasters would voluntarily give up spectrum in exchange for a portion of the auction proceeds.

    Reuters: Top News

  • The Federal Communications Commission hopes to "repurpose" 120 megahertz of spectrum through incentive auctions where television broadcasters like CBS Corp would voluntarily give up spectrum in exchange for a portion of the auction proceeds.

    Reuters: Top News

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Comments

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  • I keep seeing this on Lifehacker and it annoys me to hyperbole. Perhaps I should stop reading it...

    In Lifehacker's context it's usually applied to any DIY job entailing recycling some old item and giving it new life, with a new purpose.

    August 13, 2009

  • Verb. To modify content only slightly, but enough to make it useful in another context than that for which it was originally intended. Ex: "write this for the newsletter; we can repurpose it for the blog."

    May 28, 2008