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From Middle English reformacion, reformation, from Old French reformacion and Latin refōrmātiō, refōrmātiōnis (“reform, change”), from refōrmō (“transform, reshape”), from re- + fōrmō (“shape, form”).
- 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.
- a. 1587, Philippe Sidnei [i.e., Philip Sidney], “(please specify the page number)”, in Fulke Greville, Matthew Gwinne, and John Florio, editors, The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia [The New Arcadia], London: […] [John Windet] for William Ponsonbie, published 1590, OCLC 801077108; republished in Albert Feuillerat, editor, The Countesse of Pembrokes Arcadia (Cambridge English Classics: The Complete Works of Sir Philip Sidney; I), Cambridge, Cambridgeshire: University Press, 1912, OCLC 318419127:
- […] olde men long nusled in corruption, scorning them that would seeke reformation […]
- c. 1597 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The First Part of Henry the Fourth, […]”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358, [Act I, scene ii]:
- 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”, in The Essayes […], 3rd edition, London: […] Iohn Haviland for Hanna Barret, OCLC 863521290:
- 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.
- 1674 (date written), John Dryden, The State of Innocence, and Fall of Man: An Opera. […], London: […] T[homas] N[ewcomb] for Henry Herringman, […], published 1677, OCLC 228727029, (please specify the page number):
- […] satire lashes vice into reformation, and humour represents folly so as to render it ridiculous.
- (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, “Chapter XXIX”, in A Treatise on Equity Jurisprudence, §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.
improvement in the condition of institutions
reformation f (plural reformations)