verb (used with or without object)
- to form again.
- the improvement or amendment of what is wrong, corrupt, unsatisfactory, etc.: social reform; spelling reform.
- an instance of this.
- the amendment of conduct, belief, etc.
verb (used with object)
- to change to a better state, form, etc.; improve by alteration, substitution, abolition, etc.
- to cause (a person) to abandon wrong or evil ways of life or conduct.
- to put an end to (abuses, disorders, etc.).
- Chemistry. to subject to the process of reforming, as in refining petroleum.
verb (used without object)
- to abandon evil conduct or error: The drunkard promised to reform.
- (initial capital letter) of, relating to, or characteristic of Reform Jews or Reform Judaism: a Reform rabbi.
- (tr) to improve (an existing institution, law, practice, etc) by alteration or correction of abuses
- to give up or cause to give up a reprehensible habit or immoral way of life
- chem to change the molecular structure of (a hydrocarbon) to make it suitable for use as petrol by heat, pressure, and the action of catalysts
- an improvement or change for the better, esp as a result of correction of legal or political abuses or malpractices
- a principle, campaign, or measure aimed at achieving such change
- improvement of morals or behaviour, esp by giving up some vice
- to form anew
c.1300, “to convert into another and better form,” from Old French reformer “rebuild, reconstruct, recreate” (12c.), from Latin reformare “to form again, change, transform, alter,” from re- “again” (see re-) + formare “to form” (see form (n.)). Intransitive sense from 1580s.
Meaning “to bring (a person) away from an evil course of life” is recorded from early 15c.; of governments, institutions, etc., from early 15c. Related: Reformed; reforming. Reformed churches (1580s) usually are Calvinist as opposed to Lutheran. Reformed Judaism (1843) is a movement initiated in Germany by Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786). Reform school is attested from 1859.
“any proceeding which brings back a better order of things,” 1660s, from reform (v.) and in some uses from French réforme. As a branch of Judaism from 1843.