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

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 China has made attempts to reform its legal system. Julia Hollingsworth, CNN, "He spent 27 years in prison for murdering two children. Now a Chinese court has found him not guilty," 6 Aug. 2020 McWhirter also has worked in El Salvador to help reform the country's justice system. Lauren Castle, The Arizona Republic, "Which Democrat will face Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel?," 4 Aug. 2020 Higher education, an institution that is slow to reform and entrenched in tradition, is suddenly ripe for change. Lauren Lumpkin, Washington Post, "At George Mason and U-Md., new presidents arrive amid national crises," 10 July 2020 Booker and Harris last week introduced the Justice in Policing Act, a comprehensive bill to reform the police and justice system. Anna Giaritelli, Washington Examiner, "Cory Booker and Kamala Harris demand Congress reform policing or face 'Groundhog Day'," 16 June 2020 Congress needs to either reform or abolish it as soon as possible. George Brauchler, The Denver Post, "Brauchler: There’s so much more we can do to improve our police and judicial system," 14 June 2020 That includes his involvement with the 49ers’ Social Justice Initiative’s players council, which is working to reform the juvenile justice system. Eric Branch, SFChronicle.com, "49ers’ Richard Sherman encouraged by recent discussions about racism," 9 June 2020 Now judges and prosecutors are working to reform the cash bail system and curb the community-to-prison pipeline. Dallas News, "Anti-police violence activists mad at Chief U. Reneé Hall should also turn anger toward Dallas City Council," 8 June 2020 Or are those eerie layers a manifestation of Edna’s dementia, which causes the mind to retreat and reform in increasingly disorienting ways? Anne Cohen, refinery29.com, "The Ending Of Relic Reveals A Monster We’d Rather Not Think About," 10 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun In a nod to recent protests, Howard said police reform is a top priority. Kate Brumback, Star Tribune, "Georgia DA who charged officers faces tough primary runoff," 7 Aug. 2020 Criminal justice reform is also important to Darrell Siggers, 56, of Redford, who spent 34 years in prison before he was exonerated in 2018. Angie Jackson, Detroit Free Press, "Formerly incarcerated people can vote in upcoming Michigan elections," 2 Aug. 2020 While criminal-sentencing reform has been on Ohio lawmakers’ agendas for more than a decade, the bill has its origins in a 2018 state ballot issue that would have had similar results. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, "Ohio Senate approves bill that would downgrade most drug possession felonies to misdemeanors," 30 June 2020 Police reform has been a hot topic in the month following George Floyd's death. Evan Casey, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wauwatosa citizen committee asks the common council to require police body cameras and ban chokeholds," 27 June 2020 Police reform was a key feature of the peace process. Donald Beaudette, The Conversation, "Northern Ireland’s police transformation may hold lessons for the US," 26 June 2020 This is the reality that led to the current national uprising to abolish all the systems that allow this to continue because, as Black liberation organizers have said for years, reform is clearly not enough. Erin Corbett, refinery29.com, "Across North Carolina, Police Face Backlash For Racist & Violent Statements," 25 June 2020 Police reform has been one of the most persistent demands of protesters who have taken to the streets of U.S. cities. CBS News, "Atlanta mayor orders changes to police use-of-force policy, calls Rayshard Brooks shooting "murder"," 16 June 2020 Police reform has been the forefront of national discussion following Floyd's death. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "'Nobody is going to defund the police': Top Democrat says officers 'have a role to play'," 14 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Teachers attribute momentum from the strike for November’s changing of the guard on the Denver school board, shifting control from members backed by pro-reform organizations to candidates supported by the teachers union. Elizabeth Hernandez, The Denver Post, "One year after Denver’s historic teacher strike, what did the walkout accomplish?," 9 Feb. 2020 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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Time Traveler for reform

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for reform

Last Updated

9 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Reform.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reform. Accessed 15 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for reform

reform

verb
How to pronounce re-form (audio)

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
How to pronounce re-form (audio)

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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Comments on reform

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