Definitions
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noun (sometimes capitalized)
  1. One who advocates reform in the Church; a Reformer. (Common in 17th c.)
    • 1589: w:Gabriel Harvey, Gabriel Harvey, Pierces Supererogation or a new praise of the old asse 11 Addit. F f, - The forward Zeale of dowtie Martin Seniour, ... and some other bragge Reformistes.
    • 1590: Greenwood, Confer. Pref. A ij, Considering the reformist Preachers are now become the BB's trustie actors.
    • 1608: H. Clapham, Errour Left Hand 36 He differs much from the most of our Reformistes heere at home.
    • 1693: J. Edwards, Author, O. & N. Test. 310 Among the reformists you will see this more plainly attested.
    • 1791: w:Frances Burney, Frances Burney (later Mme. D'Arblay), Diary 3 Aug. - The winton inhabitants … ran up a slight wall before it the altar, and deceived the Reformists.
    • 1826: W. E. Andrews, Crit. Rev. Fox's Bk. Mart. II. 312 Their judges were cold and calculating reformists.
    • 1850: Elder's House 97 So you see that all the Reformists have not given up the doctrine of confession.
    • 1882: Macm. Mag. XLV 449 Mrs. Ashley … was put into the Tower, apparently on suspicion of Reformist sympathies.
    • An advocate or supporter of political reform. (Common c 1792 to 1830.)
    • 1641: News from Hell, etc. in Harl. Misc. (Malh.) IV. 393 The subtle practices of some parliamentary reformists.
    • 1792: Windham, Speeches Parl. (1812) I. App. C. 155 Yet these the Jacobins are the men whom our Reformists are known to correspond with.
    • 1817: w:Jeremy Bentham, Jeremy Bentham, Plan of Parliamentary Reform, in the Form of a Catechism, 104 - By a radical , the Householder plan could not be refused to any Electoral District.
    • 1830: Lady Granville, Lett. (1894) II. 62, I have been to see the Staffords, violent reformists.
    • 1893: Columbus (Ohio) Disp. 10 July. The general policy of the party has been enough to break the strength of the so-called Reformists.
      1. (obsolete): A member of a reformed religious order. (Frères Mineurs de l'ítroite-Observance en Italie or Riformati). There were apparently three orders known as "Réformés" but Cotgrave applies this to only the one noted. See Hélyot.
    • 1611: w:Randle Cotgrave, Randle Cotgrave, A Dictionarie of the French and English Tongues - Reformez, Reformists an Order of Franciscan Fryers. See http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/cotgrave/801.html Cotgrave
    • 1707: Phillips (ed. Kersey), Reformists'', Monks, whose Discipline, or Rules have been reformed.
adjective 
  1. advocating political reform
    • 1849: w:Edgar Allan Poe, Edgar Allan Poe, "Marginalia" Part XVI in Southern Literary Messenger, July 1849 - The modern Philosophy which annihilates the individual by way of aiding the mass; and the late Legislation, which prohibits pleasure with the view of advancing happiness, seem to be chips of that old block of a French feudal law which, to prevent young partridges from being disturbed, imposed penalites upon hoeing and weeding.
    • 1913 w:ímile Faguet, ímile Faguet, Initiation into Literature translated by Sir w:Home Gordon, Home Gordon, Bart - all the prose is German, all reformist, all moralising, and has little or practically no echo of antiquity.
Etymology: reform + -ist


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