Definition of reform in English:

reform

Line breaks: re¦form
Pronunciation: /rɪˈfɔːm
 
/

verb

[with object]
1Make changes in (something, especially an institution or practice) in order to improve it: the Bill will reform the tax system
More example sentences
  • Its aim was to help such countries to acquire technology and sustainability by reforming their institutions and improving their competitiveness.
  • This means not only refurbishing existing institutions, reforming committees and the like, but building new political sites.
  • A Westcliff security company has embarked on a campaign to reform working practices in the security business.
Synonyms
improve, make better, better, ameliorate, refine, mend, rectify, correct, rehabilitate; alter, make alterations to, change, adjust, make adjustments to, adapt, amend, revise, recast, reshape, refashion, redesign, restyle, revamp, renovate, rework, redo, remake, rebuild, reconstruct, remodel, make over, remould, reorganize, revolutionize, reorient, reorientate, vary, transform, convert; customize, tailor
technical permute
rare permutate
1.1Cause (someone) to relinquish an immoral, criminal, or self-destructive lifestyle: the state has a duty to reform criminals (as adjective reformed) I’m considered a reformed character these days
More example sentences
  • It's a semi-auto biographical novel about a cop, Detective chief Inspector Jack Priestley, and his best friend, reformed criminal Steve Blade.
  • There is definitely enough money to set up institutions to reform people who are criminals.
  • They took it in turns to visit the prison each day and to read from the Bible, believing that hearing the Bible had the power to reform people.
1.2 [no object] Relinquish an immoral, criminal, or self-destructive lifestyle: it was only when his drunken behaviour led to blows that he started to reform
More example sentences
  • I do not believe in the criminal's ability to reform, or their ability to name negative life factors as being a contributory factor to their crime.
  • And the Grinch is so much fun when he's bad, it's something of a disappointment when he reforms, realising along with the rest of Whoville that Christmas is about more than spending money.
  • In the end he reforms, because - to put it in Madonna terms - ‘efforts are made.’
Synonyms
mend one's ways, change for the better, change completely, make a fresh start, turn over a new leaf, become a new person, reconstruct oneself, improve, go straight, get back on the straight and narrow
2 Chemistry Subject (hydrocarbons) to a catalytic process in which straight-chain molecules are converted to branched forms for use as petrol.
More example sentences
  • For example, hydrogen is made via electrolysis or by reforming hydrocarbons, and both methods take a lot of electricity - most of which comes from burning fossil fuels.
  • The most polluting methods are the ones that rely on reforming hydrocarbons inside the car.
  • Most fuel cells on the market combine atmospheric oxygen with hydrogen generated by reforming methanol or methane to make electricity, with water as a byproduct.

noun

[mass noun] Back to top  
The action or process of reforming an institution or practice: the reform of the divorce laws [count noun]: economic reforms
More example sentences
  • If we want continued economic success we must continue the process of economic reform.
  • In this case constitutional reform or more representative institutions are undesirable, since they are as likely to impede as to accelerate modernisation.
  • The process of economic reform had inevitably increased individual autonomy.
Synonyms

Origin

Middle English (as a verb in the senses 'restore (peace)' and 'bring back to the original condition'): from Old French reformer or Latin reformare, from re- 'back' + formare 'to form, shape'. The noun dates from the mid 17th century.

Derivatives

reformable

adjective
More example sentences
  • They are in essence moderate reformists who believe the party is reformable: one of the chapters in the book is a glowing tribute to the fairness of Premier Wen Jiabao, who was just a simple official at one time.
  • The sustained popularity of Restoration drama had made the reformable rake and the miraculously converted tyrant familiar and acceptable, if not wholly ‘natural,’ characters by the 1740s.
  • Instead, say the authors, militants should focus on reformable imbalances, such as agricultural subsidies.

reformative

adjective
More example sentences
  • Such concerns are all the more valid, considering the slight but visible difference detected even within the ruling circles between a more reformative party and a somewhat stability-oriented administration.
  • For a film that professes to be about the street-fights of politics and the reformative power of youth, ‘Yuva’ manages to avoid, as far as possible, any direct look at sleaze and violence.
  • In this regard, correctional and reformative efforts are being constantly carried out to suit the requirements of the prisoner welfare and rehabilitation programmes.

reformer

noun
More example sentences
  • What does seem clear is that Simon was no great radical or social reformer.
  • It unites clerics and revolutionaries, monks and social reformers.
  • They have an inconvenient habit of refusing to follow where social reformers want to lead.

More definitions of reform

Definition of reform in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day grammarian
Pronunciation: grəˈmɛːrɪən
noun
a person who studies and writes about grammar