re·​for·​ma·​to·​ry | \ ri-ˈfȯr-mə-ˌtȯr-ē \

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


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: Noun

Designed to be self-supporting — by using prison labor — the complex housed a farm, reformatory and penitentiary. Alison Lake, Washington Post, "Resident Curator program offers a historic Virginia home for lease. Repairs needed.," 27 May 2018 In operation from 1896 to 1990, the reformatory draws people from all over the world for its ghost hunts. Phil Marty,, "Macaques on the move in Indy, ghost hunts in Ohio and more Midwest happenings," 30 Apr. 2018 There was that three-year stint in a reformatory, as a teen-ager, for armed robbery and auto theft. David Remnick, The New Yorker, "Chuck Berry Lives!," 18 Mar. 2017 Berry served three years of a 10-year sentence at a reformatory. Hillel Italie And Jim Suhr, Esquire, "Chuck Berry, the Inventor of Rock and Roll, Has Died at 90," 18 Mar. 2017

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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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

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