reform

verb (1)
re·​form | \ ri-ˈfȯrm How to pronounce reform (audio) \
reformed; reforming; reforms

Definition of reform

 (Entry 1 of 4)

transitive verb

1a : to put or change into an improved form or condition
b : to amend or improve by change of form or removal of faults or abuses
2 : to put an end to (an evil) by enforcing or introducing a better method or course of action
3 : to induce or cause to abandon evil ways reform a drunkard
4a : to subject (hydrocarbons) to cracking
b : to produce (gasoline, gas, etc.) by cracking

intransitive verb

: to become changed for the better

reform

noun

Definition of reform (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : amendment of what is defective, vicious, corrupt, or depraved
2 : removal or correction of errors or of an abuse or a wrong
3 capitalized : reform judaism

reform

adjective

Definition of reform (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : relating to or favoring reform All of the great American reform movements—from civil rights to child-labor laws—started far from Washington, D.C. In state legislatures and town halls …— William Greider
2 Reform : of, relating to, or practicing Reform Judaism Reform Jews, by the end of the nineteenth century, had adopted the custom of rising to their feet to pronounce the Shema in unison.— Jonathan D. Sarna

re-form

verb (2)
\ (ˌ)rē-ˈfȯrm How to pronounce re-form (audio) \
re-formed; re-forming; re-forms

Definition of re-form (Entry 4 of 4)

transitive verb

: to form again

intransitive verb

: to take form again the ice re-formed on the lake

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Other Words from reform

Verb (1)

reformability \ ri-​ˌfȯr-​mə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce reformability (audio) \ noun
reformable \ ri-​ˈfȯr-​mə-​bəl How to pronounce reformable (audio) \ adjective

Verb (2)

re-formation \ (ˌ)rē-​fȯr-​ˈmā-​shən How to pronounce re-formation (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for reform

Synonyms: Verb (1)

habilitate, reclaim, redeem, regenerate, rehabilitate

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Choose the Right Synonym for reform

Verb (1)

correct, rectify, emend, remedy, redress, amend, reform, revise mean to make right what is wrong. correct implies taking action to remove errors, faults, deviations, defects. correct your spelling rectify implies a more essential changing to make something right, just, or properly controlled or directed. rectify a misguided policy emend specifically implies correction of a text or manuscript. emend a text remedy implies removing or making harmless a cause of trouble, harm, or evil. set out to remedy the evils of the world redress implies making compensation or reparation for an unfairness, injustice, or imbalance. redress past social injustices amend, reform, revise imply an improving by making corrective changes, amend usually suggesting slight changes amend a law , reform implying drastic change plans to reform the court system , and revise suggesting a careful examination of something and the making of necessary changes. revise the schedule

Examples of reform in a Sentence

Verb (1)

The program is designed to reform prisoners. They want to reform campaign spending. The laws need to be reformed. The program is designed to help former gang members who are trying to reform.

Noun

A group of senators are calling for reform of the nation's health-care system. He has proposed a list of political reforms.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Board members started seriously talking about a truly independent investigation after Scott and Tebay, who ran for election based on reforming the university's culture, were elected in January. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "Nassar survivors: MSU president must act after 'complete betrayal' from board members," 9 Sep. 2019 Other social media companies could follow suit: by reforming their incentive structures such that open-minded, positive posts rise more quickly or by facilitating longer, richer communication between users. Jamil Zaki, Scientific American, "The Technology of Kindness," 6 Aug. 2019 Not about reforming old systems but building new systems. Allan Smith, NBC News, "And they're off!," 31 July 2019 There’s also little doubt that the basketball corruption scandal is personal for Emmert, who has staked his legacy on reforming the sport that generates 75 percent of the NCAA’s revenue. Jon Wilner, The Mercury News, "As the NCAA readies its case, Arizona should brace for the worst (just ask USC)," 13 June 2019 In ordinary circumstances, under New Jersey’s reformed bail laws, Formisano would have made his first court appearance 24 to 48 hours after being taken to jail. Kayla Epstein, Washington Post, "A cop says he ‘blacked out’ and fired his gun. Prosecutors say he killed his estranged wife.," 22 Aug. 2019 With no further mediation sessions scheduled, and old battles line seemingly reforming, the sides appear headed back to federal court — and perhaps to a trial next year. Andrew Das, New York Times, "Mediation Talks Between U.S. Women’s Team and U.S. Soccer Break Down," 14 Aug. 2019 Key issues for the coalition include workers and union rights for low-income factory workers, progressive stances on immigration, and reforming gun control, according to Mitch Henry, the former political director for LULAC and brother to Joe Henry. NBC News, "Iowa's Asian and Latino Coalition endorses Kamala Harris for the 2020 caucus," 13 Aug. 2019 Now Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Uzbekistan’s reforming president, is shutting it down. The Economist, "Uzbekistan’s new president closes Jaslyk prison camp," 8 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The government promised last week to withdraw the bill, but that failed to placate the protesters, whose demands now include democratic reforms and police accountability. BostonGlobe.com, "HONG KONG — Thousands of Hong Kong soccer fans booed loudly and turned their backs when the Chinese national anthem was played before a World Cup qualifier match against Iran on Tuesday, taking the city’s months of protests into the sports realm.," 11 Sep. 2019 The trio has also been named advocates for the Inspire Change initiative meant to support various causes, including criminal justice reform and improving police relations and educational progress. Jonathan Landrum Jr., chicagotribune.com, "Meek Mill and Meghan Trainor will perform at a free concert in Grant Park before the Bears season opener," 30 Aug. 2019 In the years since the accord was signed, FARC officials and observers have criticized the Colombian government for not making good on ambitious promises of rural reform and economic development. Author: Dylan Baddour, Anthony Faiola, Anchorage Daily News, "As Colombia peace accord unravels, ex-FARC leaders say they’ll return to armed conflict," 29 Aug. 2019 The star eventually met with President Donald Trump earlier in Washington, D.C. to discuss prison reform and sentencing. Kaitlyn Frey, PEOPLE.com, "Kim Kardashian Helped Free Alice Johnson, 64, from Prison - Then Hired Her to Model SKIMS Shapewear," 29 Aug. 2019 Thanks to major political reforms and relaxed visa rules, Ethiopia last year overtook Dubai as a transfer hub for long-haul travel to sub-Saharan Africa too. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "International carriers still dominate Africa’s most profitable air routes," 27 Aug. 2019 Efforts at reform and accountability actually seem genuine, rather than lip service. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Protests, counter-protests at Del Mar show horse racing finally paying attention," 22 Aug. 2019 As part of this reform, leaders are expected to engage with industry — in a full and open manner within legal boundaries — to find ways to reform our business practices and build a more lethal force. James Bandler, ProPublica, "How Amazon and Silicon Valley Seduced the Pentagon," 22 Aug. 2019 In 1996 Congress passed welfare-reform and immigration laws that sought to put more teeth in the existing public-charge rules. Mark Krikorian, National Review, "Trump’s Commonsense Rule on Immigrant Welfare Use," 13 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The issue has been a point of contention for Conservative and Reform Jews for decades. John Bacon, USA TODAY, "Jewish groups lash out after Israel shelves mixed-gender prayers at Western Wall," 26 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reform.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of reform

Verb (1)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Noun

1606, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1819, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb (2)

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for reform

Verb (1)

Middle English, from Anglo-French refurmer, from Latin reformare, from re- + formare to form, from forma form

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Learn More about reform

Dictionary Entries near reform

reford

reforestation

reforge

reform

re-form

reformade

reformado

Statistics for reform

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reform

The first known use of reform was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for reform

reform

verb

English Language Learners Definition of reform

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: to improve (someone or something) by removing or correcting faults, problems, etc.
: to improve your own behavior or habits

reform

noun

English Language Learners Definition of reform (Entry 2 of 3)

: the improvement of something by removing or correcting faults, problems, etc.
: an action, plan, rule, etc., that is meant to improve something

re-form

verb

English Language Learners Definition of re-form (Entry 3 of 3)

: to form (something) again

reform

verb
re·​form | \ ri-ˈfȯrm How to pronounce reform (audio) \
reformed; reforming

Kids Definition of reform

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to make better or improve by removal of faults The program reforms prisoners. The law should be reformed.
2 : to stop engaging in bad habits or behavior He promised to reform.

Other Words from reform

reformer \ ri-​ˈfȯr-​mər \ noun

reform

noun

Kids Definition of reform (Entry 2 of 2)

: the improvement of something by removing faults or problems political reform
re·​form | \ ri-ˈfȯrm How to pronounce reform (audio) \

Legal Definition of reform

1 : to put (a writing) into a corrected form that more accurately reflects the agreement of the parties allows a writing signed by mistake to be reformed— W. M. McGovern, Jr. et al. — compare ratify
2 : to induce or cause to abandon wrongful or harmful ways a reformed drug dealer

intransitive verb

: to become changed for the better

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More from Merriam-Webster on reform

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with reform

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for reform

Spanish Central: Translation of reform

Nglish: Translation of reform for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reform for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about reform

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