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

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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

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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

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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 what is being made better can be good or bad (as in "the weather improved" and "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.
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Recent Examples on the Web There are a multitude of other ways in which the government can try to ameliorate the distress of the moment and the rising inequality of the past few decades. Nicholas Lemann, The New Yorker, 31 May 2021 Law’s adoption of teamwork will ameliorate these deficits. Mark A. Cohen, Forbes, 18 May 2021 More than 186,000 restaurants flooded the federal government with applications for money in the first two days of a program set up to ameliorate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the White House said Wednesday. Ben Gittleson, ABC News, 5 May 2021 Newcomer Jakub Vrana, who was acquired at the trade deadline in the Mantha deal, and youngsters such as Filip Zadina and Michael Rasmussen are among those who will be counted on to ameliorate the loss of so many top-six forwards. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, 22 Apr. 2021 On Wednesday, the New Delhi High Court ordered the government to divert oxygen from industrial use to hospitals to ameliorate the crisis, the Associated Press reported. Washington Post, 22 Apr. 2021 To be fair, there have been companies that took action to ameliorate the unrelenting work hours and accompanying stress. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 7 Apr. 2021 Taken together, these efforts have a real chance to ameliorate climate problems. Star Tribune, 5 Apr. 2021 The report, published in the journal Global Change Biology, is the most extensive study to show seagrass’ long-term ability to ameliorate ocean acidification. Tara Duggan, San Francisco Chronicle, 31 Mar. 2021

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.

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First Known Use of ameliorate

1656, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

History and Etymology for ameliorate

alteration of meliorate — see meliorate

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Time Traveler for ameliorate

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The first known use of ameliorate was in 1656

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Last Updated

4 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ameliorate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ameliorate. Accessed 17 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for ameliorate

ameliorate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of ameliorate

formal : to make (something, such as a problem) better, less painful, etc.

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