re·​for·​ma·​to·​ry | \ ri-ˈfȯr-mə-ˌtȯr-ē How to pronounce reformatory (audio) \

Definition of reformatory

 (Entry 1 of 2)


plural reformatories

Definition of reformatory (Entry 2 of 2)

: a penal institution to which especially young or first offenders are committed for training and reformation

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Examples of reformatory in a Sentence

Adjective the belief that manual labor was a reformatory experience for convicted felons, who would learn the value of hard work
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The daughter of a social worker and a correctional supervisor at a reformatory prison, Davis comes from a family dedicated to public service. Christopher Gray, Forbes, 7 Apr. 2021 Kat Von D has joined Paris Hilton in the call to shut down a Provo reformatory school. Julie Jag, The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Oct. 2020 Nine inmates from the reformatory were hospitalized as of last Thursday, Brown said. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, 3 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For his transgression, he was forced to spend a year in a reformatory and was banned from returning to Southern California for an additional year. New York Times, 11 Feb. 2021 The reformatory has a capacity for around 1,000 inmates. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, 3 Aug. 2020 That was followed by mass testing of all staff and inmates at the reformatory. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, 3 Aug. 2020 After leaving the reformatory, she was sent to live with a distant relative of her mother. Petula Dvorak, Anchorage Daily News, 20 May 2020 But in fact the bar is always coming up with these kinds of reformatory codes. Michael Knox Beran, National Review, 6 Feb. 2020 Making matters more difficult, Beshear highlighted that the state has actually lost 1,269 medium-security prison beds since 2016, mostly because of crumbling infrastructure at the aging state prisons like the reformatory in Oldham County. Joe Sonka, The Courier-Journal, 17 Jan. 2020 The Nickel Boys follows Elwood and Turner, teen boys sentenced to an inhumane Florida reformatory (based on the shocking true stories of abuses at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys). Lucy Feldman, Time, 22 Nov. 2019 But police said the place was not licensed to run any reformatory or educational program. Sam Olukoya, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reformatory.' 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 reformatory


1589, in the meaning defined above


1834, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of reformatory was in 1589

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Cite this Entry

“Reformatory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jul. 2021.

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More Definitions for reformatory


re·​for·​ma·​to·​ry | \ ri-ˈfȯr-mə-ˌtōr-ē \
plural reformatories

Legal Definition of reformatory

: a penal institution to which especially young or first offenders are committed for training and reformation

More from Merriam-Webster on reformatory

Nglish: Translation of reformatory for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of reformatory for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about reformatory


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