Definition of reform in US English:

reform

verb

[with object]
  • 1Make changes in (something, typically a social, political, or economic institution or practice) in order to improve it.

    ‘an opportunity to reform and restructure an antiquated schooling model’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This is the backdrop against which we consider reforming Canada's political institutions for the twenty-first century.’
    • ‘What about reforming religious institutions?’
    • ‘Does he not know that the CAP has just been drastically reformed?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Our aim is to reform our institutions and develop them into excellent ones.’
    • ‘There was no real attempt to fundamentally reform or abandon the central planning process itself.’
    • ‘As Mr Pope rightly says, it's time the eccentric and discriminatory system was radically reformed.’
    • ‘The government's plan to reform the subsidy system is running into fierce opposition.’
    • ‘The system had to be radically reformed to detect murder, medical error and neglect.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There can be absolutely no excuse for the government to avoid reforming these corrupt institutions.’
    • ‘Its aim was to help such countries to acquire technology and sustainability by reforming their institutions and improving their competitiveness.’
    • ‘And it will continue to fail until Congress fundamentally reforms the law.’
    • ‘A Westcliff security company has embarked on a campaign to reform working practices in the security business.’
    • ‘By the time McLeish was 24, local government was being radically reformed.’
    • ‘Patrick Mulvaney mentions some excellent ways of reforming US elections.’
    • ‘She set out to reform the economy which she did with great success.’
    • ‘Consequently, reforming institutions of the federal government to accommodate western concerns may indeed help cure this problem.’
    improve, make better, better, ameliorate, refine, mend, rectify, correct, rehabilitate
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Bring about a change in (someone) so that they no longer behave in an immoral, criminal, or self-destructive manner.
      ‘the state has a duty to reform criminals’
      • ‘Before your mother reformed me that might have been my typical weekly shop.’
      • ‘We have Raymond Chandler and James M Cain, reformed junkie James Ellroy and reformed bank-robber Edward Bunker among many others.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I'm a completely reformed character these days, with a wife and two-year-old son.’
      • ‘So amazing, in fact, that this newly reformed cynic is ready to write a check.’
      • ‘Is it more important than reforming our criminals?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Maybe then the juveniles will be coming out of detention as reformed people, not as crime masterminds!’
      • ‘Mr Kennedy rejected putting retribution to satisfy the victims of crime above reforming 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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Lord Coulsfield said Custody Plus sentences had ‘little or no value’ in deterring or reforming criminals.’
      • ‘They are all reformed criminals - drug dealers, pickpockets, and thieves who have agreed to go straight and earn their money honestly.’
      • ‘In theory the parole hearings take the behaviour of the offender into account and allow reformed prisoners out before unrepentant ones.’
      • ‘It's amazing the number of supposedly reformed criminals who have put money into pubs.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He could understand the community's concern but believed his son was reformed and no longer a threat to society.’
      • ‘I made many resolutions to reform my personality, but never quite got round to it.’
    2. 1.2no object (of a person) change oneself for the better.
      ‘it was only when his drunken behavior led to blows that he started to reform’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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
      View synonyms
  • 2Chemistry
    Subject (hydrocarbons) to a catalytic process in which straight-chain molecules are converted to branched forms for use in gasoline.

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

noun

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

    ‘the reform of the divorce laws’
    ‘economic reforms’
    • ‘But all reforms so far discussed can only make things worse.’
    • ‘So the developing countries, the main beneficiaries of US largesse, are digging in against other UN reforms unless they get the extra cash.’
    • ‘In this case constitutional reform or more representative institutions are undesirable, since they are as likely to impede as to accelerate modernisation.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The process of economic reform had inevitably increased individual autonomy.’
    • ‘I am generally in favor of orienting the country toward market reforms, but China's development must be more equal, more balanced.’
    • ‘Mr Prescott also used today's speech to announce sweeping housing reforms to tackle rogue landlords and reform the right to buy.’
    • ‘If we want continued economic success we must continue the process of economic reform.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Arguably its most radical commitment was to constitutional reform.’
    • ‘To rise to these global challenges we have this week announced the next stage in our competitiveness reforms.’
    • ‘He always presented reforms as a necessary evil.’
    • ‘Do you believe that constitutional reform is needed to rectify the situation?’
    • ‘President Fox told reporters in Brazil that Mexico wants the United States to introduce immigration reforms as quickly as possible.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Despite some tough reforms, no one is able to guess at the cost of widespread military corruption and incompetence.’
    improvement, betterment, amelioration, refinement, rectification, correction, rehabilitation
    View synonyms

adjective

Reform
  • Of, denoting, or pertaining to Reform Judaism.

    ‘a Reform rabbi’
    • ‘Her mother, ecstatic, planned a wedding in their Reform temple for a Sunday afternoon in July.’
    • ‘Before becoming affiliated with a Reform Temple, I was a Messianic Jew, quote/unquote.’
    • ‘In spite of everything, they're marrying this March, in a Jewish ceremony by a Reform rabbi.’
    • ‘In many ways, this is a continuation of Reform's historical commitment to free inquiry.’
    • ‘Do you see a connection between your vision of Judaism and the early Reform movement?’
    • ‘You certainly don't need to be Jewish to be Reform or Orthodox.’
    • ‘Some Reform rabbis have had a great impact on national life in recent times.’
    • ‘I taught in most of the Reform Synagogues in Manhattan and I was also a principal in a Reform Hebrew School.’
    • ‘We have six rabbis who are involved: three Orthodox, two Conservative, and one Reform.’
    • ‘Roughly one-third of Tenafly is Jewish, mostly Reform or Conservative.’
    • ‘There's a whole host of sociological reasons for this but in my opinion, the Reform denomination has been to blame.’
    • ‘The Jews who have left the Orthodox synagogue for the Reform and Conservative movements have made similar choices.’
    • ‘At any rate, Gamaliel's liturgy has determined the form and much of the content of Jewish prayer, Reform as well as Orthodox, to the present day.’
    • ‘This includes the Reform form of Judaism, as typified by Moses Mendelssohn.’
    • ‘He migrated to Cincinnati, Ohio, where he headed up a Reform congregation.’
    • ‘Sephardic liturgy has an essential beauty and to me Reform is church-like - it's not genuine.’

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

/rəˈfôrm//rəˈfɔrm/