What does reform mean?

Definitions for reform

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word reform.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. reformnoun

    a change for the better as a result of correcting abuses

    "justice was for sale before the reform of the law courts"

  2. reformnoun

    a campaign aimed to correct abuses or malpractices

    "the reforms he proposed were too radical for the politicians"

  3. reformverb

    self-improvement in behavior or morals by abandoning some vice

    "the family rejoiced in the drunkard's reform"

  4. reformverb

    make changes for improvement in order to remove abuse and injustices

    "reform a political system"

  5. reform, reclaim, regenerate, rectifyverb

    bring, lead, or force to abandon a wrong or evil course of life, conduct, and adopt a right one

    "The Church reformed me"; "reform your conduct"

  6. reformverb

    produce by cracking

    "reform gas"

  7. reformverb

    break up the molecules of

    "reform oil"

  8. reformverb

    improve by alteration or correction of errors or defects and put into a better condition

    "reform the health system in this country"

  9. reform, straighten out, see the lightverb

    change for the better

    "The lazy student promised to reform"; "the habitual cheater finally saw the light"


  1. reformnoun

    Amendment of what is defective, vicious, corrupt, or depraved; reformation; as, reform of elections; reform of government.

  2. reformverb

    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.

  3. reformverb

    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.

  4. reformverb

    To form again or in a new configuration.

  5. Etymology: réforme

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. REFORMnoun


    Etymology: French.

  2. To REFORMverb

    To change from worse to better.

    Etymology: reformo, Lat. reformer, Fr.

    A sect in England, following the very same rule of policy, seeketh to reform even the French reformation, and purge out from thence also dregs of popery. Richard Hooker, b. iv. s. 8.

    Seat worthier of Gods, was built
    With second thoughts, reforming what was old. John Milton.

    May no such storm
    Fall on our times, where ruin must reform. John Denham.

    Now low’ring looks presage approaching storms,
    And now prevailing love her face reforms. Dryden.

    One cannot attempt the perfect reforming the languages of the world, without rendering himself ridiculous. John Locke.

    The example alone of a vicious prince will corrupt an age; but that of a good one will not reform it. Jonathan Swift.

  3. To Reformverb

    To make a change from worse to better.

    Was his doctrine of the mass struck out in this conflict? or did it give him occasion of reforming in this point? Francis Atterbury.


  1. Reform

    Reform (Latin: reformo) means the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory, etc. The use of the word in this way emerges in the late 18th century and is believed to originate from Christopher Wyvill's Association movement which identified “Parliamentary Reform” as its primary aim. Reform is generally regarded as antithetical to revolution. Developing countries may carry out a wide range of reforms to improve their living standards, often with support from international financial institutions and aid agencies. This can include reforms to macroeconomic policy, the civil service, and public financial management. In the United States, rotation in office or term limits would, by contrast, be more revolutionary, in altering basic political connections between incumbents and constituents.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Reformverb

    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

  2. Reformverb

    to return to a good state; to amend or correct one's own character or habits; as, a man of settled habits of vice will seldom reform

  3. Reformnoun

    amendment of what is defective, vicious, corrupt, or depraved; reformation; as, reform of elections; reform of government


  1. Reform

    Reform is a British right-wing think tank based in London, whose declared mission is to set out a better way to deliver public services and economic prosperity via private sector involvement and market de-regulation. Reform describes itself as independent and non-partisan. It was founded in 2001 by Nick Herbert and Andrew Haldenby.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Reform

    rē-form′, v.t. to form again or anew: to transform: to make better: to remove that which is objectionable from: to repair or improve: to reclaim.—v.i. to become better: to abandon evil: to be corrected or improved.—n. a forming anew: change, amendment, improvement: an extension or better distribution of parliamentary representation, as in the Reform Bill.—adj. Refor′mable.—n. Reformā′tion, the act of forming again: the act of reforming: amendment: improvement: the great religious revolution of the 16th century, which gave rise to the various evangelical or Protestant organisations of Christendom.—adjs. Refor′mātive, forming again or anew: tending to produce reform; Refor′mātory, reforming: tending to produce reform.—n. an institution for reclaiming youths and children who have been convicted of crime.—adj. Reformed′, formed again or anew: changed: amended: improved: denoting the churches formed after the Reformation, esp. those in which the Calvinistic doctrines, and still more the Calvinistic polity, prevail, in contradistinction to the Lutheran.—ns. Refor′mer, one who reforms: one who advocates political reform: one of those who took part in the Reformation of the 16th century; Refor′mist, a reformer.—Reformed Presbyterians, a Presbyterian denomination originating in Scotland (see Cameronian); Reform school, a reformatory. [L. re-, again, formāre, to shape—forma, form.]

The Nuttall Encyclopedia

  1. Reform

    the name given in England to successive attempts and measures towards the due extension of the franchise in the election of the members of the House of Commons.

The Foolish Dictionary, by Gideon Wurdz


    In general, a periodic epidemic, starting with marked heat, followed by a high fever, and accompanied by a flow of ink in the newspapers, a discharge of words from the face and a rush of blood to the polls, leaving the victim a chronic invalid until the next campaign. In New York, reform has been confined to a Low attempt at government.

Editors Contribution

  1. reform

    To create a new or improved form.

    It is important to reform some governmental systems to ensure justness, fairness and truth.

    Submitted by MaryC on October 23, 2020  

  2. reform

    To create change to ensure optimum health, right to life, human rights, fairness, justness, unity, peace, inclusion and freedom.

    Reform is welcomed by the electorate and it leads to the creation of a national unity government for the optimum health and prosperity of everyone.

    Submitted by MaryC on March 1, 2020  

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'reform' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1948

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'reform' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2164

  3. Nouns Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'reform' in Nouns Frequency: #582

How to pronounce reform?

How to say reform in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of reform in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of reform in Pythagorean Numerology is: 3

Examples of reform in a Sentence

  1. Jason Hopkins:

    The Vera Institute of Justice is a behemoth progressive nonprofit based out of New York City with well over a $140 million budget, which they use to fund a slate of progressive causes and initiatives across the country, whether that be criminal justice reform, bail reform and also immigration.

  2. German Mendoza:

    This is a war, we are going to keep mobilizing our communities, our families, and social organizations ... toward the repeal of the education reform.

  3. Rich Azzopardi:

    Sameulson is an extortionist who is trying to undo pension reform. We also understand he is a political supporter of Tish James and she says she may run against the governor, and he wants more benefits in his contract, it is critically important to realize that any such comment may merit severe repercussions.

  4. Humza Yousaf:

    My immediate priority will be to continue to protect every Scot as far as we possibly can from the harm inflicted by the cost-of-living crisis, to recover and reform our NHS and other vital public services, [and] to support our wellbeing economy to improve the life chances of people right across this country.

  5. Hugh Dugan:

    This is the ‘ twitter ’ version of U.N. reform. It is very concise, therefore apparently less than robust.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for reform

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"reform." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 1 Jun 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/reform>.

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    pose a threat to; present a danger to
    • A. restore
    • B. embark
    • C. observe
    • D. jeopardize

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