ameliorate

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

Essential Meaning of ameliorate

formal : to make (something, such as a problem) better, less painful, etc. trying to ameliorate the suffering of people who have lost their jobs This medicine should help ameliorate the pain.

Full 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

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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 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The Wings hoped improvement from Filip Zadina could ameliorate the loss of Vrana, but Zadina has 11 points through 37 games. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, 16 Jan. 2022 Politicians also lack the expertise to review the scientific evidence and ameliorate serious hazards. Lawrence Gostin, Forbes, 19 Jan. 2022 Some developers have started publicly agitating for union protections to help ameliorate these issues, though there's been little to show so far in terms of fully unionized studios. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, 6 Dec. 2021 But Biden and Xi could, at least, agree to work together to try to ameliorate it. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, 15 Nov. 2021 H-Proof, a supplement that claims to proactively ameliorate the effects of hangovers, contains significant levels of nine vitamins, plus zinc and potassium. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, 22 Nov. 2021 That voluntary compliance did not ameliorate all of the ethical problems that came with the president owning a hotel in the nation’s capital. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 14 Oct. 2021 Performance gaps have persisted for centuries despite extensive educational efforts to ameliorate them and are revealed clearly with all tests that measure academic readiness. WSJ, 8 Dec. 2021 Congress, for example, probably has better things to do than try to ameliorate the shortages of PlayStation 5s and Xbox Series Xs with a National Console Reserve. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 24 Nov. 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

Time Traveler

The first known use of ameliorate was in 1656

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Dictionary Entries Near ameliorate

ameliorant

ameliorate

ameloblast

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Last Updated

23 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ameliorate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ameliorate. Accessed 26 Jan. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on ameliorate

Nglish: Translation of ameliorate for Spanish Speakers

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