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I'm looking for a word that means to repair something in such a way that it changes its function.

Example: The washing machine was broken and I repaired it in such a way that the function of washing machine is no longer washing clothes but, say, now it colours the clothes.

What did I do to the washing machine? Is there any word for that?

I will clarify my question. Actually I'm working on a project in which I made one thing out of another. The washing machine example was "just an example". I can't share what I did but I will give some more examples:

  1. I had a bicycle and I changed it to a car.
  2. I made a big phone out of my laptop (changed from one thing to another).
  3. I had a picture scanner but I changed it to a printer.
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You've adapted your washing machine.

Adapt: to change, or to change something, to suit different conditions or uses. [Cambridge English dictionary]

Adapt: Make (something) suitable for a new use or purpose; modify. [Oxford Dictionaries]

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27

That's called repurposing.

Repurpose (verb): Adapt for use in a different purpose.

Example: They've taken a product that was originally designed for the CD-ROM and repurposed it for the Microsoft Network. [Lexico]

Example: You repurposed the washing machine for cloth-colourer.

If you fix a broken thing and make something else out of it, I suggest Upcycle.


  • Transmute would also work well. It means to change something in form, nature, or substance

  • Or use customise if you change it according to your needs.

  • Revamp, remodel, transfigure and retool could also be used.

I had a bicycle and I changed it to a car.

For this example, I'd use transmogrify.

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How about modify or retrofit? From M-W:

modify: to make basic or fundamental changes in often to give a new orientation to or to serve a new end

retrofit: to adapt to a new purpose or need

Your example:

The washing machine was broken and I modified it in such a way that the function of washing machine is no longer washing clothes but, say, now it colours the clothes.

The washing machine was broken and I retrofitted it in such a way that the function of washing machine is no longer washing clothes but, say, now it colours the clothes.

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  • I think these are right but you can modify or retrofit a machine which doesn't need repair (or at least didn't need repair until you started to modify it!). I don't believe that a single word exists to cover both repair and modification, to answer the question completely you would need a phrase such as repair and modification, repair and retrofit and so on. – BoldBen Aug 7 at 0:27
  • @BoldBen Thanks. I don’t disagree. Your comment also applies to repurpose and the other answers. – Richard Kayser Aug 7 at 0:54
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The word you are looking for is hack; in its original sense, to fix something into something it wasn't before (or more eloquently, "An appropriate application of ingenuity" )

I didn't need a raclette grill, so i hacked it into a reflow oven.

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To hack something.

(usually used in a software/IT context)

Someone hacked the Make program into an init system.

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I believe that in the current computer era, you can also use upgrade for that purpose. Upgrading is the act of replacing a program with a newer version of itself with better performance and new features besides the fixing of whatever errors the previous version had. It has become so common that the use has extended beyond the scope of the software.

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