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

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 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 The world is not yet on track to make the changes necessary to ameliorate its worst effects. Brian Contreras, Los Angeles Times, "For young Californians, climate change is a mental health crisis too," 27 Dec. 2020 These conversational snippets ameliorate the grinding repetition inherent to the genre. Ars Staff, Ars Technica, "Ars Technica’s best games of 2020," 22 Dec. 2020 The Biden administration will seek to ameliorate conditions in Central America and to enlist Mexican cooperation. New York Times, "As Biden Prepares to Take Office, a New Rush at the Border," 13 Dec. 2020 Trees provide cooling shade during D.C.’s hot summers and can ameliorate poor air quality, which has proved to be a risk factor for the virus. Washington Post, "A fight for forest equity in Southeast D.C. takes on new urgency amid pandemic," 5 Dec. 2020 One difficulty is that tracking racial and ethnic diversity has been tougher than measuring gender diversity, with companies often not disclosing such data, something that Nasdaq hopes its proposal can help ameliorate. Star Tribune, "Proposed Nasdaq rule would push companies to diversify boards," 1 Dec. 2020 Much of the world has acknowledged that women’s underrepresentation is problematic and has taken concrete steps to ameliorate this. Fortune, "The U.S. is too far behind the rest of the world when it comes to women in government," 16 Nov. 2020 The tensions inherent in that state of affairs are what city government tries to ameliorate. Louis Menand, The New Yorker, "What Good Government Looks Like," 25 Nov. 2020 Enough would-be voters have wrongly concluded the boxes won’t accept their ballots that state and local officials have rushed to ameliorate the confusion. Washington Post, "Where’s the slot? With some voters confused, Md. officials detail how ballot dropboxes work.," 23 Oct. 2020

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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Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ameliorate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ameliorate. Accessed 19 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for ameliorate

ameliorate

verb
How to pronounce ameliorate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ameliorate

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

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Comments on ameliorate

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