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

The roundtable of more than 20 advocates and activists weighed in on everything from climate change to the humanitarian crisis in the Bahamas, to the need to reform our education system. Essence, "CBC: New Poll Says 83 Percent of Black Women Give Donald Trump An ‘F’ As President," 12 Sep. 2019 Kamala Harris laid out a sweeping agenda to reform the criminal justice system and reduce mass incarceration on Monday, in a sign that the California senator isn’t shying away from her record as a former prosecutor. Casey Tolan, The Mercury News, "Kamala Harris: end death penalty, remove mandatory minimum sentences, close private prisons," 9 Sep. 2019 Ohio Constitution changes were approved by landslide votes in 2018 to reform the congressional district process and in 2014 for the Statehouse district process. Rich Exner, cleveland.com, "What anti-gerrymandering court win in North Carolina means for Ohio," 4 Sep. 2019 Tate’s organization works to reform probation and parole policies and educate the public. Ivana Hrynkiw | Ihrynkiw@al.com, al, "Probation and Parole Board making changes after complaints on Shelby County move," 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 The church, every step of the way, has refused to reform and has taken the most cynical path each time,’’ said Josh Shapiro, the Democratic state attorney general whose office released the grand jury report. Julie Zauzmer, BostonGlobe.com, "Pa. report on sex abuse shook nation, Vatican, but changed nothing in the state," 14 Aug. 2019 Blondie reformed in the ’90s and is currently on tour. Robyn Merrett, PEOPLE.com, "Blondie Singer Debbie Harry Reveals She Was Raped at Knifepoint During a Home Invasion: Report," 7 Aug. 2019 Each candidate got about 15 minutes alone to tackle the rights of union workers to collectively bargain, how healthcare might be reformed and the specter of gun violence in the wake of the shooting. Los Angeles Times, "‘Keep that ... on the battlefield': Beto O’Rourke condemns access to assault weapons after El Paso shooting," 3 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Shorts from the remaining programs also featured more serious topics such as immigration and gun reform. Alexandra Del Rosario, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emerging Latinx and Hispanic Filmmakers on "Fighting the Good Fight" in Short Films," 15 Sep. 2019 Yesterday, 145 chief executives wrote to Congress, urging lawmakers to pursue gun reform measures like stricter background checks and tougher ‘red flag’ laws. Fortune, "Female CEOs Up Their Activism: The Broadsheet," 13 Sep. 2019 On gun reform, companies from retailers to banks have considered whether to overhaul their own policies or distance themselves from the vast firearm industry - or not. Rachel Siegel, Anchorage Daily News, "145 business leaders implore US Senate to act on gun violence," 12 Sep. 2019 And in many French-speaking African countries, bishops served as neutral mediators who led national conversations between autocratic rulers and civilians throughout the 1990s, often achieving democratic reforms. Joseph Hellweg, Quartz Africa, "Africa’s Catholic Church faces competition and a troubled legacy even as it grows," 12 Sep. 2019 President Donald Trump’s administration is preparing new legislation which will expedite the execution of perpetrators found guilty of mass killings, and introduce a number of new gun reforms. The Economist, "Republican states loosen their gun laws following mass shootings," 5 Sep. 2019 Similarly, in the US, the effective top tax rate is still 5.8 points higher than in 2008, at 40.8%, despite being slightly reduced under the 2017 tax reform. Max De Haldevang, Quartz, "The financial crisis forced governments to hike taxes on the rich, a new study finds," 27 Aug. 2019 Even the best fishery management reforms will be unable to compensate for the 4 degree Celsius ocean temperature increase that scientists project will occur by the end of this century if greenhouse gas emissions are not reduced. Chris Free, The Conversation, "Ocean warming has fisheries on the move, helping some but hurting more," 19 Aug. 2019 As gun-reform advocates shouted down DeWine during a vigil on Sunday night, Whaley took the mic and asked everyone to chill out. Jason Williams, Cincinnati.com, "PX column: She's shown compassion and stood up to Trump. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley has been a rock star. What's it mean for her future?," 8 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

11 Oct 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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