Definition of ameliorate
- medicine to ameliorate the pain
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trying to ameliorate the suffering of people who have lost their jobs
This medicine should help ameliorate the pain.
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.
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").
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