Definition of reformatory in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /rəˈfôrməˌtôrē/

noun (plural reformatories)

archaic or North American dated
An institution to which youthful offenders are sent as an alternative to prison; a reform school.
Example sentences
  • Smith's workshops on songwriting, vocals and harmonica take him throughout his home state of Victoria and the rest of the country, into schools, prisons, reformatories, music stores - and ABC studios.
  • So too were there special prisons for juveniles - sometimes in hulks, as in Sydney's Sobraon and Vernon - while the construction of special reformatories and prison farms proceeded well into the twentieth century.
  • Given that he has spent much of his life in reformatories and prisons, he is, we're led to believe, somewhat naive about the outside world.


Tending or intended to produce reform.
Example sentences
  • They emphasised the need for taking urgent reformatory steps against the fast growing social evils.
  • Previously only those who suffered abuse in industrial schools, reformatory schools, orphanages and children's homes for which public bodies had supervisory or inspection functions were included.
  • In 1930 the then Department of Education produced a 200-plus page report, but only eight pages referred to industrial and reformatory schools.

Words that rhyme with reformatory


For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: re·form·a·to·ry

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.