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 But the infrastructure bill, despite its massive outlay, is also quite clearly not enough to truly ameliorate America’s myriad problems. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 10 Aug. 2021 And the quest to ameliorate health inequalities is complex. Maria Shine Stewart, cleveland, 16 Aug. 2021 The operation was approved only after the team had shown that physical therapy alone could not ameliorate Fidyka’s condition. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 12 Aug. 2021 In the summer of 2012, the Wings were trying to ameliorate the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, 13 July 2021 Fortunately, there are a number of readily available reforms that, if adopted, can ameliorate some of the worst effects of this crisis. Richard M. Frank, CNN, 16 July 2021 Bringing vaccines directly to neighborhoods or even workplaces where people might have trouble accessing them due to their work schedules could help ameliorate the issue in the meantime if legislation is lagging, Reiss said. Catherine Thorbecke, ABC News, 25 May 2021 While both lawsuits and policy efforts are underway to ameliorate the conditions for transgender, non-binary and intersex people behind bars, advocates say lives are at stake. Nora Neus, Cnn Video By Lacey Russell, CNN, 23 June 2021 To ameliorate this, some archaeologists today employ a no-collection or repatriation strategy. Smithsonian Magazine, 8 June 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

8 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ameliorate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ameliorate. Accessed 16 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for ameliorate

ameliorate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of ameliorate

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

More from Merriam-Webster on ameliorate

Nglish: Translation of ameliorate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ameliorate for Arabic Speakers

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