Rehabilitation | Definition of Rehabilitation by Merriam-Webster


re·​ha·​bil·​i·​ta·​tion | \ ˌrē-ə-ˌbi-lə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce rehabilitation (audio) , ˌrē-hə- \
plural rehabilitations

Definition of rehabilitation

: the action, process, or result of rehabilitating or of being rehabilitated: such as
a : restoration especially by therapeutic means to an improved condition of physical function MCL injuries alone rarely necessitate surgery and heal with rest and rehabilitation.— Shira Springer The handsome barn-style building is used as a wildlife rehabilitation center, so you'll see mending hawks, eagles, or owls perching.— Lora J. Finnegan also : the process of restoring a person to a drug- or alcohol-free state … the tabloid feeding frenzy surrounding his drug bust and ensuing rehabilitation for heroin addiction last year. — Joyce Millman
b : the process of restoring someone (such as a criminal) to a useful and constructive place in society the rehabilitation of prisoners a prison rehabilitation program
c : the restoration of something damaged or deteriorated to a prior good condition the rehabilitation of the neighborhood the rehabilitation of a person's reputation

First Known Use of rehabilitation

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about rehabilitation

Time Traveler for rehabilitation

Time Traveler

The first known use of rehabilitation was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for rehabilitation

Cite this Entry

Rehabilitation.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for rehabilitation


noun, often attributive
re·​ha·​bil·​i·​ta·​tion | \ ˌrē-(h)ə-ˌbil-ə-ˈtā-shən How to pronounce rehabilitation (audio) \

Medical Definition of rehabilitation

1 : the action or process of rehabilitating or of being rehabilitated: as
a : the physical restoration of a sick or disabled person by therapeutic measures and reeducation to participation in the activities of a normal life within the limitations of the person's physical disability rehabilitation after coronary occlusion
b : the process of restoring an individual to a useful and constructive place in society especially through some form of vocational, correctional, or therapeutic retraining
2 : the result of rehabilitating : the state of being rehabilitated rehabilitation of the patient

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on rehabilitation

What made you want to look up rehabilitation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!