[ ri-fawrm ]
See synonyms for: reformre-formedre-formingre-forms on

  1. the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory, etc.: social reform; spelling reform.

  2. an instance of this.

  1. the amendment of conduct, belief, etc.

verb (used with object)
  1. to change to a better state, form, etc.; improve by alteration, substitution, abolition, etc.

  2. to cause (a person) to abandon wrong or evil ways of life or conduct.

  1. to put an end to (abuses, disorders, etc.).

  2. Chemistry. to subject to the process of reforming, as in refining petroleum.

verb (used without object)
  1. to abandon evil conduct or error: The drunkard promised to reform.

  1. (initial capital letter) of, relating to, or characteristic of Reform Jews or Reform Judaism: a Reform rabbi.

Origin of reform

First recorded in 1300–50; (for the verb) Middle English reformen, from Middle French reformer, Old French, from Latin refōrmāre; equivalent to re- + form; noun derivative of the verb

Other words for reform

Opposites for reform

Other words from reform

  • re·form·a·ble, adjective
  • re·form·a·bil·i·ty, re·form·a·ble·ness, noun
  • re·form·a·tive, adjective
  • re·form·a·tive·ly, adverb
  • re·form·a·tive·ness, noun
  • re·form·ing·ly, adverb
  • an·ti·re·form, adjective
  • mis·re·form, verb
  • pre·re·form, adjective
  • pro·re·form, adjective
  • self-re·form, noun
  • su·per·re·form, noun, verb (used with object)
  • un·re·form·a·ble, adjective
  • un·re·form·a·tive, adjective

Words that may be confused with reform

Other definitions for re-form (2 of 2)

[ ree-fawrm ]

verb (used with or without object)
  1. to form again.

Origin of re-form

1300–50; Middle English; originally identical with reform

Other words from re-form

  • re-for·ma·tion, noun
  • re-former, noun

Words that may be confused with re-form Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use reform in a sentence

  • The idealism of the eighteenth century was not reformative and humanistic, but revolutionary and humanitarian.

  • The moral hump is tolerated, even patronised in reformative institutions, but the physical hump, never!

    London's Underworld | Thomas Holmes
  • One draws humour, one irony, one a tendency to exaggerate, another deeply to be serious and reformative.

    The Hive | Will Levington Comfort
  • Louisiana, therefore, has an elaborate excise, guiltless of any suggestion of reformative objects.

  • Suffering which is of an entirely penal nature, has very little deterrent value and absolutely no reformative value whatever.

    A Plea for the Criminal | James Leslie Allan Kayll

British Dictionary definitions for reform (1 of 2)


/ (rɪˈfɔːm) /

  1. (tr) to improve (an existing institution, law, practice, etc) by alteration or correction of abuses

  2. to give up or cause to give up a reprehensible habit or immoral way of life

  1. chem to change the molecular structure of (a hydrocarbon) to make it suitable for use as petrol by heat, pressure, and the action of catalysts

  1. an improvement or change for the better, esp as a result of correction of legal or political abuses or malpractices

  2. a principle, campaign, or measure aimed at achieving such change

  1. improvement of morals or behaviour, esp by giving up some vice

Origin of reform

C14: via Old French from Latin reformāre to form again

Derived forms of reform

  • reformable, adjective
  • reformative, adjective
  • reformer, noun

British Dictionary definitions for re-form (2 of 2)


/ (riːˈfɔːm) /

  1. to form anew

Derived forms of re-form

  • re-formation, noun

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012