Meaning of “reform” in the English Dictionary

"reform" in British English

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reformverb [ I or T ]

uk /rɪˈfɔːm/ us /rɪˈfɔːrm/

C2 to make an improvement, especially by changing a person's behaviour or the structure of something:

Who will reform our unfair electoral system?
For years I was an alcoholic, but I reformed when the doctors gave me six months to live.

More examples

  • He was given licence to reform the organization.
  • The president is preparing for a showdown with his advisers over his plans to reform the economy.
  • He was credited with having reformed the education system.
  • The government is in the process of reforming the benefits system.
  • On leaving jail, Joe determined to reform.
noun [ C or U ] uk /ˌref.əˈmeɪ.ʃən/ us /ˌref.ɚˈmeɪ.ʃən/

He's undergone something of a reformation - he's a changed man.

reformnoun [ C or U ]

uk /rɪˈfɔːm/ us /rɪˈfɔːrm/

C2 an improvement, especially in a person's behaviour or in the structure of something:

Some reforms of/to the system will be necessary.
The education system was crying out for reform.

More examples

  • Political reform and economic liberalization don't always go together.
  • An avowed traditionalist, he is against reform of any kind.
  • The education system in Britain was crying out for reform.
  • The reform process was put in train in 1985, by the Liberal government.
  • The political reforms have led to major structural changes in the economy.

(Definition of “reform” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"reform" in American English

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reformverb [ I/T ]

us /rɪˈfɔrm/

social studies to become better, or to make something better by making corrections or removing any faults:

[ I ] She insists that she has finally reformed.
noun [ C/U ] us /rɪˈfɔrm/
noun [ C/U ] us /ˌref·ərˈmeɪ·ʃən/

[ U ] reformation of the health care system
adjective us /rɪˈfɔrmd/

I’m a reformed guy – I eat a low-fat diet and exercise every day.

(Definition of “reform” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"reform" in Business English

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reformnoun [ C or U ]

uk /rɪˈfɔːm/ us

an improvement or set of improvements made to a system, law, organization, etc. in order to make it more modern or effective:

reform of sth Essential reform of the banking sector is under way.
reforms in sth He has called for reforms in the retirement system for years.
banking/economic/tax reform Corporate tax reform has left companies uncertain about future tax bills.
Market reforms have opened the doors to greater competition.
fundamental/major/radical reforms

reformverb [ T ]

uk /rɪˈfɔːm/ us

to make an improvement to a system, a law, an organization, etc., in order to make it more modern or effective:

reform the economy/the tax system, etc.
Corporation tax will be reformed to raise more revenue.

(Definition of “reform” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)