One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A military officer left without a command owing to reorganization but retaining his rank and seniority, and receiving full or half pay. Also: a volunteer serving in the army or navy without a commission, but with the rank of an officer. Compare "reform". Now historical.
Early 17th century; earliest use found in Ben Jonson (?1573–1637), poet and playwright. From Spanish reformado military officer left without a command owing to reorganization (probably 1593), person who is or has reformed in some respect, use as noun of reformado, adjective.
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