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Borrowed from Latin reformatio, reformationis (reform, change), from refōrmō (transform, reshape), from re- + fōrmō (shape, form).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˌɹɛfəˈmeɪʃn̩/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˌɹɛfɚˈmeɪʃn̩/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -eɪʃən


reformation (countable and uncountable, plural reformations)

  1. An improvement (or an intended improvement) in the existing form or condition of institutions or practices, etc.; intended to make a striking change for the better in social, political or religious affairs or in the conduct of persons or operation of organizations.
    • 1590, Sir Philip Sidney, Book 2:
      [] olde men long nusled in corruption, scorning them that would seeke reformation []
    • ca. 1597, William Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part I, Act I, sc. 2:
      And like bright metal on a sullen ground,
      My reformation, glittering o'er my fault,
      Shall show more goodly, and attract more eyes
      Than that which hath no foil to set it off.
    • 1625, Francis Bacon, "Of Innovation"
      It is good also, not to try experiments in states, except the necessity be urgent, or the utility evident; and well to beware, that it be the reformation, that draweth on the change, and not the desire of change, that pretendeth the reformation.
    • 1677, John Dryden, The State of Innocence and the Fall of Man, Author's Apology:
      [] satire lashes vice into reformation, and humour represents folly so as to render it ridiculous.
  2. (law) Change or correction, by a court in equity, to a written instrument to conform to the original intention of the parties.
    • 1893, Christopher Gustavus Tiedeman, A Treatise on Equity Jurisprudence, Chapter XXIX, §507 (footnotes omitted):
      All sorts of legal instruments may be reformed by equity, when the errors, which have been committed in the execution of them, are mutual mistakes or a mistake of one party combined with the fraud of the other. Thus, reformation has been decreed of all kinds of deeds of conveyance, including leases, mortgages, deeds of trust, marriage and family settlements. Likewise, bonds of all kinds, policies of insurance, assignments or release of mortgages, executory contracts for the sale of lands, the indorsement of a note, agreements for the establishment of a highway, military orders. So may, also, judgments and other records be corrected or be reformed.


Further reading[edit]



re- +‎ formation



reformation f (plural reformations)

  1. re-formation

See also[edit]