AskDefine | Define reform

Dictionary Definition



1 a change for the better as a result of correcting abuses; "justice was for sale before the reform of the law courts"
2 a campaign aimed to correct abuses or malpractices; "the reforms he proposed were too radical for the politicians"
3 self-improvement in behavior or morals by abandoning some vice; "the family rejoiced in the drunkard's reform"


1 make changes for improvement in order to remove abuse and injustices; "reform a political system"
2 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" [syn: reclaim, regenerate, rectify]
3 produce by cracking; "reform gas"
4 break up the molecules of; "reform oil"
5 improve by alteration or correction of errors or defects and put into a better condition; "reform the health system in this country"
6 change for the better; "The lazy student promised to reform"; "the habitual cheater finally saw the light" [syn: straighten out, see the light]

User Contributed Dictionary

see Reform






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

Derived terms




  1. 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. 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.


to put into a new and improved form or condition
To return to a good state


Extensive Definition

Reform means to change, possibly a reversion to what is perceived to be a pure original state. It is used, however, for any change thought to be positive.
Reform is generally distinguished from revolution. The latter moves toward basic or radical change; whereas reform may be no more than fine tuning, or at most redressing serious wrongs without altering the fundamentals of the system. Reform seeks to improve the system as it stands, never to overthrow it wholesale.
During the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, for example, the New Jersey Plan would have reformed the existing constitution, the Articles of Confederation. By contrast, the Virginia Plan proposed to completely rewrite the nation's fundamental charter, and create a new constitution. Virginia's more revolutionary approach prevailed and resulted in the U.S. Constitution.
Likewise today, many reforms are proposed in the United States Congress which aim to improve the system. For example, Campaign finance reform would modify the way elections in the United States are financed, but would not change the basic nature of the offices at stake. Rotation in office or Term limits would, by contrast, be more revolutionary, in altering basic political connections between incumbents and constituents.
Reform can refer to:
In politics:
  • Reform movement, a generic term for various social and political movements
  • Non-reformist Reform, reform which is attentive to immediate social needs and at the same time moves toward further gains, and eventually, wholesale transformation
  • Reform Party, a list of parties calling themselves the Reform Party or variants thereof
  • Reform Act, a common name for electoral-reform bills in the United Kingdom; they are usually differentiated by their year
  • Reform (think tank), a think-tank in the United Kingdom that promotes deregulation, competition in UK public services, and a low-tax economy
  • Reforming Movement, a French centrist political group created in 1972
  • La Reforma, a period of liberal reforms in Mexico after 1855
In religion:
In chemistry:
  • Catalytic reforming, a process that converts the hydrocarbons in various oil refinery naphthas into higher octane hydrocarbons for use as components of gasoline
  • Steam reforming, also called hydrogen reforming or catalytic oxidation, a method of producing hydrogen from hydrocarbons
Reform can also refer to:
reform in Danish: Reform (flertydig)
reform in Spanish: Reforma
reform in Dutch: Reform

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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