reformatory

1 of 2

adjective

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

reformatory

2 of 2

noun

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

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
His mother sent him to the Élan School in Maine, a reformatory boarding institution with extreme forms of discipline, including shouting sessions and boxing matches, that attracted widespread criticism and that led to the school’s closing in 2011. Alex Traub, New York Times, 7 Mar. 2024 The dystopian satire follows Frida Liu, who, after leaving her daughter unattended, is forcibly enrolled in a reformatory school for bad moms. Ella King, Harper's BAZAAR, 27 Jan. 2023 In 1963, he was sentenced to two years in the reformatory and five years probation for an armed robbery in Kentucky. Sarah Nelson, The Courier-Journal, 6 Apr. 2022
Noun
Lucien turned himself in the next day and served two years for manslaughter in a reformatory. Penelope Green, New York Times, 24 May 2024 And its productions also traveled to prisons, reformatories, settlement houses and psychiatric hospitals. Adam Hochschild, Smithsonian Magazine, 26 Oct. 2023 But what was once a comfort to him after the loss of his mother has become a window to the truth of what happens at the reformatory. Sarah Yang, Sunset Magazine, 22 Sep. 2023 The state took its $76 million reformatory to Grafton, in Lorain County, where its men’s prison remains. Kaitlin Durbin, cleveland, 4 Apr. 2022 Starting as a youth, when he was sent to a state reformatory, Mr. Bellecourt amassed a long criminal record. Washington Post, 18 Jan. 2022 Yet, many tourists make the hour or so drive to the reformatory when visiting Northeast Ohio. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, 12 Oct. 2021 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

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'reformatory.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

Adjective

1589, in the meaning defined above

Noun

1834, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of reformatory was in 1589

Dictionary Entries Near reformatory

Cite this Entry

“Reformatory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/reformatory. Accessed 14 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition

reformatory

1 of 2 adjective
re·​for·​ma·​to·​ry ri-ˈfȯr-mə-ˌtōr-ē How to pronounce reformatory (audio)
-ˌtȯr-

reformatory

2 of 2 noun
plural reformatories
: an institution for reforming usually young or female criminals or those in jail for the first time

Legal Definition

reformatory

noun
re·​for·​ma·​to·​ry
ri-ˈfȯr-mə-ˌtōr-ē
plural reformatories
: a penal institution to which especially young or first offenders are committed for training and reformation

More from Merriam-Webster on reformatory

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!