reform

When you reform something, you change it for the better. If you're running for President, you might promise to reform government, although it's easier to promise reform than to actually accomplish it.

If you take the parts of reform, re- and form, you can see that it means “to shape again.” We often use it to talk about correcting what's wrong in a system, and if you reform something, you make it better and more fair. Juvenile delinquents might be sent to reform school to become better people. Someone fighting alcoholism might try to reform her ways. It's not always about morals: in chemistry, you reform molecules by breaking them apart.

Primary Meanings of reform

1.
vn
make changes for improvement in order to remove abuse and injustices
a change for the better as a result of correcting abuses
2.
vn
bring, lead, or force to abandon a wrong or evil course of life, conduct, and adopt a right one
self-improvement in behavior or morals by abandoning some vice
3.
v
produce by cracking
4.
v
break up the molecules of
Full Definitions of reform
1

v make changes for improvement in order to remove abuse and injustices

reform a political system”
Type of:
ameliorate, amend, better, improve, meliorate
to make better

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

reform the health system in this country”
Type of:
ameliorate, amend, better, improve, meliorate
to make better

n a change for the better as a result of correcting abuses

“justice was for sale before the reform of the law courts”
Types:
land reform
a redistribution of agricultural land (especially by government action)
moralisation, moralization
the act of making moral (or more moral)
housecleaning
(figurative) the act of reforming by the removal of unwanted personnel or practices or conditions
Type of:
improvement
the act of improving something

n a campaign aimed to correct abuses or malpractices

“the reforms he proposed were too radical for the politicians”
Type of:
campaign, cause, crusade, drive, effort, movement
a series of actions advancing a principle or tending toward a particular end
2

v 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”
Synonyms:
reclaim, rectify, regenerate
see the light, straighten out
change for the better
Types:
moralise, moralize
improve the morals of
Type of:
alter, change, modify
cause to change; make different; cause a transformation

v change for the better

“The lazy student promised to reform
Synonyms:
see the light, straighten out
reclaim, rectify, regenerate
bring, lead, or force to abandon a wrong or evil course of life, conduct, and adopt a right one
Type of:
ameliorate, better, improve, meliorate
get better

n self-improvement in behavior or morals by abandoning some vice

“the family rejoiced in the drunkard's reform
Type of:
self-improvement, self-reformation
the act of improving yourself
3

v produce by cracking

reform gas”
Type of:
create from raw material, create from raw stuff
make from scratch
4

v break up the molecules of

reform oil”
Type of:
change integrity
change in physical make-up