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’
    • ‘A Westcliff security company has embarked on a campaign to reform working practices in the security business.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She set out to reform the economy which she did with great success.’
    • ‘This means not only refurbishing existing institutions, reforming committees and the like, but building new political sites.’
    • ‘So I don't think you can reform educational institutions in radical ways, except in the wake of a revolution.’
    • ‘The government's plan to reform the subsidy system is running into fierce opposition.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Does he not know that the CAP has just been drastically reformed?’
    • ‘As Mr Pope rightly says, it's time the eccentric and discriminatory system was radically reformed.’
    • ‘This is the backdrop against which we consider reforming Canada's political institutions for the twenty-first century.’
    • ‘There can be absolutely no excuse for the government to avoid reforming these corrupt institutions.’
    • ‘There was no real attempt to fundamentally reform or abandon the central planning process itself.’
    • ‘Our aim is to reform our institutions and develop them into excellent ones.’
    • ‘Consequently, reforming institutions of the federal government to accommodate western concerns may indeed help cure this problem.’
    • ‘Its aim was to help such countries to acquire technology and sustainability by reforming their institutions and improving their competitiveness.’
    • ‘Patrick Mulvaney mentions some excellent ways of reforming US elections.’
    • ‘And it will continue to fail until Congress fundamentally reforms the law.’
    • ‘What about reforming religious institutions?’
    • ‘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.’
    improve, make better, better, ameliorate, refine, mend, rectify, correct, rehabilitate
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    1. 1.1 Cause (someone) to relinquish an immoral, criminal, or self-destructive lifestyle.
      ‘the state has a duty to reform criminals’
      ‘I'm considered a reformed character these days’
      • ‘Mr Kennedy rejected putting retribution to satisfy the victims of crime above reforming criminals.’
      • ‘I made many resolutions to reform my personality, but never quite got round to it.’
      • ‘Before your mother reformed me that might have been my typical weekly shop.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's amazing the number of supposedly reformed criminals who have put money into pubs.’
      • ‘They are all reformed criminals - drug dealers, pickpockets, and thieves who have agreed to go straight and earn their money honestly.’
      • ‘Lord Coulsfield said Custody Plus sentences had ‘little or no value’ in deterring or reforming criminals.’
      • ‘We have Raymond Chandler and James M Cain, reformed junkie James Ellroy and reformed bank-robber Edward Bunker among many others.’
      • ‘He could understand the community's concern but believed his son was reformed and no longer a threat to society.’
      • ‘In theory the parole hearings take the behaviour of the offender into account and allow reformed prisoners out before unrepentant ones.’
      • ‘I'm a completely reformed character these days, with a wife and two-year-old son.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Maybe then the juveniles will be coming out of detention as reformed people, not as crime masterminds!’
      • ‘So amazing, in fact, that this newly reformed cynic is ready to write a check.’
      • ‘There is definitely enough money to set up institutions to reform people who are 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's a semi-auto biographical novel about a cop, Detective chief Inspector Jack Priestley, and his best friend, reformed criminal Steve Blade.’
    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’
      • ‘The death row inmate says that he's reformed and his supporters believe he deserves clemency.’
      • ‘In the end he reforms, because - to put it in Madonna terms - ‘efforts are made.’’
      • ‘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.’
      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.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The tank of this SUV is filled with methanol from which hydrogen is reformed on board the vehicle.’

noun

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

    ‘the reform of the divorce laws’
    count noun ‘economic reforms’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In this case constitutional reform or more representative institutions are undesirable, since they are as likely to impede as to accelerate modernisation.’
    • ‘Trying to keep the ailing system going another generation will wind up costing taxpayers far, far more than making reforms today.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Why not postpone the constitutional debate for a decade and concentrate on economic reform?’
    • ‘The process of economic reform had inevitably increased individual autonomy.’
    • ‘So the developing countries, the main beneficiaries of US largesse, are digging in against other UN reforms unless they get the extra cash.’
    • ‘I am generally in favor of orienting the country toward market reforms, but China's development must be more equal, more balanced.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘But all reforms so far discussed can only make things worse.’
    • ‘Do you believe that constitutional reform is needed to rectify the situation?’
    • ‘For example, it has linked economic reform and structural adjustment to what it has termed good governance.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If we want continued economic success we must continue the process of economic reform.’
    • ‘Arguably its most radical commitment was to constitutional reform.’
    • ‘Most of the air security reforms Robert Poole recommends are intelligent and well taken.’
    • ‘He always presented reforms as a necessary evil.’
    • ‘President Fox told reporters in Brazil that Mexico wants the United States to introduce immigration reforms as quickly as possible.’
    • ‘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
    View 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.

Pronunciation

reform

/rɪˈfɔːm/