verb (used with object)

  1. to get back or regain (something lost or taken away): to recover a stolen watch.
  2. to make up for or make good (loss, damage, etc., to oneself).
  3. to regain the strength, composure, balance, or the like, of (oneself).
  4. Law.
    1. to obtain by judgment in a court of law, or by legal proceedings: to recover damages for a wrong.
    2. to acquire title to through judicial process: to recover land.
  5. to reclaim from a bad state, practice, etc.
  6. to regain (a substance) in usable form, as from refuse material or from a waste product or by-product of manufacture; reclaim.
  7. Military. to return (a weapon) to a previously held position in the manual of arms.
  8. Football. to gain or regain possession of (a fumble): They recovered the ball on their own 20-yard line.

verb (used without object)

  1. to regain health after being sick, wounded, or the like (often followed by from): to recover from an illness.
  2. to regain a former and better state or condition: The city soon recovered from the effects of the earthquake.
  3. to regain one’s strength, composure, balance, etc.
  4. Law. to obtain a favorable judgment in a suit for something.
  5. Football. to gain or regain possession of a fumble: The Giants recovered in the end zone for a touchdown.
  6. to make a recovery in fencing or rowing.


  1. (tr) to find again or obtain the return of (something lost)
  2. to regain (loss of money, position, time, etc); recoup
  3. (of a person) to regain (health, spirits, composure, etc), as after illness, a setback, or a shock, etc
  4. to regain (a former and usually better condition)industry recovered after the war
  5. law
    1. (tr)to gain (something) by the judgment of a court of lawto recover damages
    2. (intr)to succeed in a lawsuit
  6. (tr) to obtain (useful substances) from waste
  7. (intr) (in fencing, swimming, rowing, etc) to make a recovery

c.1300, “to regain consciousness,” from Anglo-French rekeverer (13c.), Old French recovrer “come back, return; regain health; procure, get again” (11c.), from Medieval Latin recuperare “to recover” (source of Spanish recobrar, Italian ricoverare; see recuperation). Meaning “to regain health or strength” is from early 14c.; sense of “to get (anything) back” is first attested mid-14c. Related: Recovered; recovering.

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