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Syllabification: re·form
Pronunciation: /rəˈfôrm

Definition of reform in English:


[with object]
1Make changes in (something, typically a social, political, or economic institution or practice) in order to improve it: an opportunity to reform and restructure an antiquated schooling model
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.
improve, better, make better, ameliorate, refine;
alter, make alterations to, change, adjust, make adjustments to, adapt, amend, revise, reshape, refashion, redesign, restyle, revamp, rebuild, reconstruct, remodel, reorganize
1.1Bring about a change in (someone) so that they no longer behave in an immoral, criminal, or self-destructive manner: the state has a duty to reform criminals (as adjective reformed) a reformed gambler
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] (Of a person) change oneself for the better: it was only when his drunken behavior 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.’
mend one's ways, change for the better, turn over a new leaf, improve
2 Chemistry Subject (hydrocarbons) to a catalytic process in which straight-chain molecules are converted to branched forms for use in gasoline.
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.


Back to top  
The action or process of reforming an institution or practice: the reform of the divorce laws 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.
improvement, amelioration, refinement;
alteration, change, adaptation, amendment, revision, reshaping, refashioning, redesigning, restyling, revamp, revamping, renovation, rebuilding, reconstruction, remodeling, reorganizing, reorganization


(Reform) Back to top  
Of, denoting, or pertaining to Reform Judaism: a Reform rabbi
More example sentences
  • Before becoming affiliated with a Reform Temple, I was a Messianic Jew, quote/unquote.
  • At any rate, Gamaliel's liturgy has determined the form and much of the content of Jewish prayer, Reform as well as Orthodox, to the present day.
  • Sephardic liturgy has an essential beauty and to me Reform is church-like - it's not genuine.


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.



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.


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.


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.

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