Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition.
  • transitive v. To abolish abuse or malpractice in: reform the government.
  • transitive v. To put an end to (a wrong). See Synonyms at correct.
  • transitive v. To cause (a person) to give up harmful or immoral practices; persuade to adopt a better way of life.
  • intransitive v. To change for the better.
  • n. A change for the better; an improvement.
  • n. Correction of evils, abuses, or errors.
  • n. Action to improve social or economic conditions without radical or revolutionary change.
  • adj. Relating to or favoring reform: a reform candidate for mayor.
  • adj. Of or relating to Reform Judaism.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Amendment of what is defective, vicious, corrupt, or depraved; reformation; as, reform of elections; reform of government.
  • v. To put into a new and improved form or condition; to restore to a former good state, or bring from bad to good; to change from worse to better; to amend; to correct; as, to reform a profligate man; to reform corrupt manners or morals.
  • v. To return to a good state; to amend or correct one's own character or habits; as, a person of settled habits of vice will seldom reform.
  • v. To form again or in a new configuration.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Amendment of what is defective, vicious, corrupt, or depraved; reformation
  • intransitive v. To return to a good state; to amend or correct one's own character or habits.
  • transitive v. To put into a new and improved form or condition; to restore to a former good state, or bring from bad to good; to change from worse to better; to amend; to correct

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To form again or anew; remake; reconstruct; renew.
  • To restore to the natural or regular order or arrangement: as, to reform broken or scattered troops.
  • To restore to a former and better state, or to bring from a bad to a good state; change from worse to better; improve by alteration, rearrangement, reconstruction, or abolition of defective parts or imperfect conditions, or by substitution of something better; amend; correct: as, to reform, a profligate man; to reform corrupt manners of morals; to reform the corrupt orthography of English or French.
  • To abandon, remove, or abolish for something better.
  • To mend, in a physical sense; repair.
  • To correct.
  • Synonyms Improve, Better, etc. (see amend), repair, reclaim, remodel.
  • To form again; get into order or line again; resume order, as troops or a procession.
  • To abandon that which is evil or corrupt and return to that which is good; change from worse to better; be amended or redeemed.
  • n. Any proceeding which either brings back a better order of things or reconstructs the present order to advantage; amendment of what is defective, vicious, depraved, or corrupt; a change from worse to better; reformation: as, to introduce reforms in sanitary matters; to be an advocate of reform.
  • n. Synonyms Amendment, etc. See reformation.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a campaign aimed to correct abuses or malpractices
  • n. self-improvement in behavior or morals by abandoning some vice
  • v. improve by alteration or correction of errors or defects and put into a better condition
  • v. bring, lead, or force to abandon a wrong or evil course of life, conduct, and adopt a right one
  • v. break up the molecules of
  • v. change for the better
  • v. produce by cracking
  • n. a change for the better as a result of correcting abuses
  • v. make changes for improvement in order to remove abuse and injustices

Etymologies

Middle English reformen, from Old French reformer, from Latin refōrmāre : re-, re- + fōrmāre, to shape (from fōrma, form).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
French réforme (Wiktionary)

Examples

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Comments

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  • To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition.
    v. To abolish abuse or malpractice in: reform the government.
    v. To put an end to (a wrong). See Synonyms at correct.
    v. To cause (a person) to give up harmful or immoral practices; persuade to adopt a better way of life.
    v. To change for the better.
    n. A change for the better; an improvement.
    n. Correction of evils, abuses, or errors.
    n. Action to improve social or economic conditions without radical or revolutionary change.
    adj. Relating to or favoring reform: a reform candidate for mayor.
    adj. Of or relating to Reform Judaism.

    August 28, 2013

  • Reform - without a doubt my pick for the most abused word in the world of politics. Politicians from all sides use the word "reform" deceptively to convey change for something good. But rarely do you see it used that way. For example, I live in Australia and when you read about a party introducing reform legislation, it usually means to take away, reduce, or make life much harder for people. In America, it is used incorrectly by those generally on the conservative side of politics. A reform is an improvement in order to make things better and not a kick in the guts! Cheers, gootnbewg.

    August 12, 2011