Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition.
  • intransitive verb To abolish abuse or malpractice in.
  • intransitive verb To put an end to (an abuse or wrong).
  • intransitive verb To induce or persuade (a person) to give up harmful or immoral practices; cause to adopt a better way of life.
  • intransitive verb Chemistry To subject (hydrocarbons) to cracking.
  • intransitive verb To change for the better.
  • noun Action to improve or correct what is wrong or defective in something.
  • noun An instance of this; an improvement.
  • adjective Relating to or favoring reform.
  • adjective Of or relating to Reform Judaism.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun 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.
  • noun Synonyms Amendment, etc. See reformation.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To return to a good state; to amend or correct one's own character or habits.
  • transitive verb 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
  • noun Amendment of what is defective, vicious, corrupt, or depraved; reformation
  • noun See under Civil.
  • noun (Eng. Politics) acts of Parliament passed in 1832, 1867, 1884, 1885, extending and equalizing popular representation in Parliament.
  • noun [U. S.] a school established by a state or city government, for the confinement, instruction, and reformation of juvenile offenders, and of young persons of idle, vicious, and vagrant habits.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Amendment of what is defective, vicious, corrupt, or depraved; reformation; as, reform of elections; reform of government.
  • verb 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.
  • verb 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.
  • verb transitive, intransitive To form again or in a new configuration.

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Middle English reformen, from Old French reformer, from Latin refōrmāre : re-, re- + fōrmāre, to shape (from fōrma, form).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

French réforme

Examples

Comments

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  • 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

  • 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