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)

: relating to or favoring reform

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

Days after the shooting, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the government would reform their gun laws. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why Gun Violence Is a Women's Issue," 27 Mar. 2019 These associations often take positions on political issues—as in North Dakota, where Mr. Fleck supported a 2014 ballot initiative to reform child-custody law. Jacob Huebert And, WSJ, "Lawyers Have Rights, Too," 20 Dec. 2018 Ty Witte said detectives have encountered suspects who know exactly how SB 91 and SB 54 — controversial efforts to reform Alaska's criminal justice system — changed sentencing for first-time car thieves. Kyle Hopkins, Anchorage Daily News, "After a record year for property crime in Anchorage, car thefts are skyrocketing in 2018," 28 June 2018 Efforts to reform auto no-fault insurance have fallen through when lawmakers have tried to limit those benefits, so the Senate decided to nibble around the edges of the issue. Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan Senate passes auto insurance rate relief for seniors," 7 June 2018 Farrell’s plan would also invest $1.7 million over two years in ongoing efforts to reform the Police Department. Dominic Fracassa, San Francisco Chronicle, "SF mayor proposes hiring hundreds of new police officers," 15 May 2018 For years, Democratic efforts to reform this manifestly undemocratic set of rules amounted to little more than grumbles. Benjamin Hart, Daily Intelligencer, "Connecticut Joins Effort to Overturn Electoral College," 6 May 2018 Paul notes that China has repeatedly made empty promises to reform its practices. Washington Post, "Stuck in trade war, US and China face uncertain path to deal," 10 July 2018 The company also agreed to review more than 230,000 denied claims and reform its practices. Tim Prudente, baltimoresun.com, "Lawsuit to settle whether Howard County school board chairwoman is disabled," 12 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

There have been some recent, tentative signs of progress on reform, including marginally higher rates on big certificates of deposit and a slightly softer stance on wealth-management products. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, "How to Depress Chinese Consumers Without Really Trying," 15 Feb. 2019 Three years later, Freedman won the top journalistic award for editorials on immigration reform. Logan Jenkins, sandiegouniontribune.com, "What does the future hold for the newspaper you're reading?," 25 June 2018 That’s created headaches for House members such as Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Turlock), who’s tried for years to make progress on immigration reform. Christine Mai-duc, latimes.com, "Trump's immigration agenda forces California GOP candidates to navigate a tricky course," 24 June 2018 Finland’s government collapsed Friday, just weeks before the country heads to the polls for a general election, after the prime minister failed to win approval for key reforms. Dominic Chopping, WSJ, "Finland’s Government Collapses Weeks Before General Election," 8 Mar. 2019 The response to O’Connell's statements garnered immediate backlash and prompted the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre to push for legal reforms over the case, per BuzzFeed News. Amira Rasool, Teen Vogue, "Women in Ireland Are Posting Images of Their Underwear to Protest Rape Culture," 20 Nov. 2018 My long-term goal is to get kicked off TikTok for making viral memes promoting democratic reforms in China. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Four ways the internet changed the midterm elections," 7 Nov. 2018 No one takes credit for, or supports, the reforms in the comments that have been filed. Ryan Barwick, Ars Technica, "Millions could lose cheap phone service under FCC’s overhaul of Lifeline," 4 Sep. 2018 The United States and a number of WTO members have called for reforms of the WTO rules to broaden their coverage. Michael Joe Murphy, OrlandoSentinel.com, "World trade — what everyone needs to know," 11 July 2018

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

1663, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1819, in the meaning defined above

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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Statistics for reform

Last Updated

12 Apr 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

Comments on reform

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