Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To restore to good health or useful life, as through therapy and education.
  • transitive v. To restore to good condition, operation, or capacity.
  • transitive v. To reinstate the good name of.
  • transitive v. To restore the former rank, privileges, or rights of.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To invest or clothe again with some right, authority, or dignity; to restore to a former capacity; to reinstate; to qualify again; to restore, as a delinquent, to a former right, rank, or privilege lost or forfeited; -- a term of civil and canon law.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To restore to a former capacity or standing; reinstate; qualify again; restore, as a delinquent, to a former right, rank, or privilege lost or forfeited: a term drawn from the civil and canon law.
  • To reëstablish in the esteem of others or in social position lost by disgrace; restore to public respect: as, there is now a tendency to rehabilitate notorious historical personages; Lady Blank was rehabilitated by the influence of her family at court.

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

  • v. restore to a state of good condition or operation
  • v. reinstall politically
  • v. help to readapt, as to a former state of health or good repute

Etymologies

Medieval Latin rehabilitāre, rehabilitāt-, to restore to a former rank : Latin re-, re- + Late Latin habilitāre, to enable; see habilitate.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From the participle stem of Late Latin rehabilitare, from Latin re- + habilitāre. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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