ameliorate

verb
ame·​lio·​rate | \ ə-ˈmēl-yə-ˌrāt How to pronounce ameliorate (audio) , -ˈmē-lē-ə- \
ameliorated; ameliorating

Definition of ameliorate

transitive verb

: to make better or more tolerable medicine to ameliorate the pain

intransitive verb

: to grow better

Other Words from ameliorate

amelioration \ ə-​ˌmēl-​yə-​ˈrā-​shən How to pronounce ameliorate (audio) , -​ˌmē-​lē-​ə-​ \ noun
ameliorative \ ə-​ˈmēl-​yə-​ˌrā-​tiv How to pronounce ameliorate (audio) , -​ˈmē-​lē-​ə-​ \ adjective
ameliorator \ ə-​ˈmēl-​yə-​ˌrā-​tər How to pronounce ameliorate (audio) \ noun
amelioratory \ ə-​ˈmēl-​yə-​rə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce ameliorate (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for ameliorate

Synonyms

Antonyms

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Choose the Right Synonym for ameliorate

improve, better, help, ameliorate mean to make more acceptable or to bring nearer a standard. improve and better are general and interchangeable and apply to what can be made better whether it is good or bad. measures to further improve the quality of medical care immigrants hoping to better their lot help implies a bettering that still leaves room for improvement. a coat of paint would help that house ameliorate implies making more tolerable or acceptable conditions that are hard to endure. tried to ameliorate the lives of people in the tenements

Did you know?

Ameliorate traces back to melior, the Latin adjective meaning "better," and is a synonym of the verbs better and improve. When is it better to use ameliorate? If a situation is bad, ameliorate indicates that the conditions have been made more tolerable. Thus, one might refer to drugs that ameliorate the side effects of chemotherapy, a loss of wages ameliorated by unemployment benefits, or a harsh law ameliorated by special exceptions. Improve and better apply when something bad is being made better (as in "the weather improved" or "she bettered her lot in life"), and they should certainly be chosen over ameliorate when something good is getting better still ("he improved his successful program," "she bettered her impressive scores").

Examples of ameliorate in a Sentence

The disparate impact of the risk imposed by the "loser pays" rule can be ameliorated. Indeed, there are features of the British legal system which have led some observers to find the rule … to be considerably more benign to poorer litigants. — Edward F. Sherman, Texas Law Review, June 1998 And, after all, some illnesses are psychogenic. Many can be at least ameliorated by a positive cast of mind. — Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World, 1996 Even the abolitionists gave their attention not to the task of ameliorating conditions among slaves but to transforming slaves into free people. — John Hope Franklin, "The Land of Room Enough," 1981, in Race and History1989 trying to ameliorate the suffering of people who have lost their jobs This medicine should help ameliorate the pain.
Recent Examples on the Web Some scholars have argued that simply making end-of-life-planning documents more accessible can ameliorate these complications. Michael Waters, The Atlantic, 17 May 2022 Congress can pass a law in most cases to ameliorate or roll back a Supreme Court opinion. James Brown, USA TODAY, 26 June 2022 McVey also hinted at something that startups can do to ameliorate the impact of any stagflation: keep boosting productivity. Kevin Kelleher, Fortune, 23 June 2022 While House Democrats lauded the measure as an immediate and safe way to ameliorate shortages, Republicans remained largely unconvinced of the bill’s effectiveness. Daedan Olander, The Salt Lake Tribune, 20 May 2022 Here, the inflatable couch that has helped ameliorate my supply chain woes. Rachel Besser, Vogue, 18 Feb. 2022 At the same time, Fed policies to ameliorate inflation -- such as raising interest rates -- also hits this group harder. Catherine Thorbecke, ABC News, 26 Jan. 2022 Deploy the budget to ameliorate the underlying issues; provide housing, job training, mental health services, etc. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 May 2022 Hopefully, governments will check their math before rolling out policies to ameliorate the current situation. Michael Lynch, Forbes, 7 Mar. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ameliorate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of ameliorate

1656, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for ameliorate

alteration of meliorate — see meliorate

Learn More About ameliorate

Time Traveler for ameliorate

Time Traveler

The first known use of ameliorate was in 1656

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About ameliorate

Dictionary Entries Near ameliorate

ameliorant

ameliorate

ameloblast

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for ameliorate

Last Updated

22 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ameliorate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ameliorate. Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on ameliorate

Nglish: Translation of ameliorate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ameliorate for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!