Definition of reform in English:

reform

verb

[with object]
  • 1Make changes in (something, especially an institution or practice) in order to improve it.

    ‘the Bill will reform the tax system’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He called for proper funding to be put in place for hospitals, schools and local services but felt that a great opportunity to reform local government had been lost.’
    • ‘So I don't think you can reform educational institutions in radical ways, except in the wake of a revolution.’
    • ‘Consequently, reforming institutions of the federal government to accommodate western concerns may indeed help cure this problem.’
    • ‘Before the Findlay decision was given in Strasbourg, the British government had in fact sought and obtained legislation in Parliament to reform the court martial system.’
    • ‘What about reforming religious institutions?’
    • ‘This is the backdrop against which we consider reforming Canada's political institutions for the twenty-first century.’
    • ‘As Mr Pope rightly says, it's time the eccentric and discriminatory system was radically reformed.’
    • ‘And it will continue to fail until Congress fundamentally reforms the law.’
    • ‘The system had to be radically reformed to detect murder, medical error and neglect.’
    • ‘By the time McLeish was 24, local government was being radically reformed.’
    • ‘The government's plan to reform the subsidy system is running into fierce opposition.’
    • ‘There was no real attempt to fundamentally reform or abandon the central planning process itself.’
    • ‘She set out to reform the economy which she did with great success.’
    • ‘Our aim is to reform our institutions and develop them into excellent ones.’
    • ‘There can be absolutely no excuse for the government to avoid reforming these corrupt institutions.’
    • ‘Does he not know that the CAP has just been drastically reformed?’
    • ‘Patrick Mulvaney mentions some excellent ways of reforming US elections.’
    improve, make better, better, ameliorate, refine, mend, rectify, correct, rehabilitate
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    1. 1.1Cause (someone) to relinquish an immoral, criminal, or self-destructive lifestyle.
      ‘the state has a duty to reform criminals’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Judges and magistrates in the Doncaster area have been told to stop using a new style of sentencing aimed at reforming drug-addicted criminals because the initiative has run out of funding.’
      • ‘Is it more important than reforming our criminals?’
      • ‘Lord Coulsfield said Custody Plus sentences had ‘little or no value’ in deterring or reforming criminals.’
      • ‘Mr Kennedy rejected putting retribution to satisfy the victims of crime above reforming criminals.’
      • ‘I'm not really sure myself because I guess in a perfect world people would go to prison and come out a new, reformed person who would never commit a crime again.’
      • ‘It's amazing the number of supposedly reformed criminals who have put money into pubs.’
      • ‘Maybe then the juveniles will be coming out of detention as reformed people, not as crime masterminds!’
      • ‘I made many resolutions to reform my personality, but never quite got round to it.’
      • ‘They are all reformed criminals - drug dealers, pickpockets, and thieves who have agreed to go straight and earn their money honestly.’
      • ‘Finance Minister Tom McCabe, the man who persuaded McConnell to adopt last month's smoking ban, is a similarly reformed character, whose jogging rivals Kerr's.’
      • ‘Clarke at one time embraced the EU federalist cause I believe: I think he is now a better informed, and indeed reformed politician because of that.’
      • ‘We have Raymond Chandler and James M Cain, reformed junkie James Ellroy and reformed bank-robber Edward Bunker among many others.’
      • ‘In theory the parole hearings take the behaviour of the offender into account and allow reformed prisoners out before unrepentant ones.’
      • ‘He could understand the community's concern but believed his son was reformed and no longer a threat to society.’
      • ‘I'm a completely reformed character these days, with a wife and two-year-old son.’
      • ‘Before your mother reformed me that might have been my typical weekly shop.’
      • ‘So amazing, in fact, that this newly reformed cynic is ready to write a check.’
    2. 1.2no object Relinquish an immoral, criminal, or self-destructive lifestyle.
      ‘it was only when his drunken behaviour led to blows that he started to reform’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘The death row inmate says that he's reformed and his supporters believe he deserves clemency.’
      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
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  • 2Chemistry
    Subject (hydrocarbons) to a catalytic process in which straight-chain molecules are converted to branched forms for use as petrol.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The tank of this SUV is filled with methanol from which hydrogen is reformed on board the vehicle.’
    • ‘To be useful in a power-generating fuel cell, hydrocarbons such as gasoline, natural gas or ethanol must be reformed into a hydrogen-rich gas.’

noun

mass noun
  • The action or process of reforming an institution or practice.

    ‘the reform of the divorce laws’
    count noun ‘economic reforms’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Arguably its most radical commitment was to constitutional reform.’
    • ‘Do you believe that constitutional reform is needed to rectify the situation?’
    • ‘Why not postpone the constitutional debate for a decade and concentrate on economic reform?’
    • ‘For example, it has linked economic reform and structural adjustment to what it has termed good governance.’
    • ‘Most of the air security reforms Robert Poole recommends are intelligent and well taken.’
    • ‘I want many changes though, starting with further reforms to agricultural policy, an end to secrecy, and a curb on the centralising tendency of the institutions in Brussels.’
    • ‘I am generally in favor of orienting the country toward market reforms, but China's development must be more equal, more balanced.’
    • ‘President Fox told reporters in Brazil that Mexico wants the United States to introduce immigration reforms as quickly as possible.’
    • ‘He always presented reforms as a necessary evil.’
    • ‘So the developing countries, the main beneficiaries of US largesse, are digging in against other UN reforms unless they get the extra cash.’
    • ‘In thinking about reforms, it is important to have a sense of the problems we aim to address, and some possible ways of addressing them.’
    • ‘Sugar beet growers in Yorkshire were urged yesterday to lobby their MPs in a bid to water down reforms that could put thousands of jobs in the UK at risk.’
    • ‘Trying to keep the ailing system going another generation will wind up costing taxpayers far, far more than making reforms today.’
    • ‘But all reforms so far discussed can only make things worse.’
    • ‘To rise to these global challenges we have this week announced the next stage in our competitiveness reforms.’
    • ‘Despite some tough reforms, no one is able to guess at the cost of widespread military corruption and incompetence.’
    • ‘Mr Prescott also used today's speech to announce sweeping housing reforms to tackle rogue landlords and reform the right to buy.’
    improvement, betterment, amelioration, refinement, rectification, correction, rehabilitation
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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.

Pronunciation

reform

/rɪˈfɔːm/