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 amelioration (audio) , -​ˌmē-​lē-​ə-​ \ noun
ameliorative \ ə-​ˈmēl-​yə-​ˌrā-​tiv How to pronounce ameliorative (audio) , -​ˈmē-​lē-​ə-​ \ adjective
ameliorator \ ə-​ˈmēl-​yə-​ˌrā-​tər How to pronounce ameliorator (audio) \ noun
amelioratory \ ə-​ˈmēl-​yə-​rə-​ˌtȯr-​ē How to pronounce amelioratory (audio) \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for ameliorate

Synonyms

amend, better, enhance, enrich, help, improve, meliorate, perfect, refine, upgrade

Antonyms

worsen

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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

There are, after all, other ways to ameliorate the problem of divergence between the popular vote and the Electoral College. Jay Cost, National Review, "Chris Hayes and Progressives’ Lack of Respect for the Constitution," 3 Sep. 2019 Ironically enough, the desire to ameliorate the feeling that students don’t belong or the fear of attack was part of the motivation for the initial wave of speech codes. David French, National Review, "Courage Is the Cure for Political Correctness," 20 Aug. 2019 But there's widespread agreement that the condition does not preclude success if it's treated -- whether through medication, cognitive therapy or setting things up in a way that ameliorates the challenges ADHD presents. Jeanne Sahadi, CNN, "ADHD isn't a career killer. Just ask these executives," 2 July 2019 Big Pharma has devised drugs that save lives and ameliorate suffering. Washington Post, "What the Democratic candidates are getting wrong about business," 3 Aug. 2019 Seider’s selection brought back memories of Krupp, the German defenseman signed to ameliorate the loss of Vladimir Konstantinov, whose career ended in a limousine crash a week after the Wings won the 1997 Stanley Cup. Helene St. James, Detroit Free Press, "How Detroit Red Wings have fared in free agency over the years: Hits and misses," 22 July 2019 Unfortunately, district court judges have largely failed to take advantage of Booker to ameliorate the harshness of the federal sentencing system. Lynn S. Adelman, Twin Cities, "Lynn S. Adelman: There’s another tough-on-crime law Democrats should focus their criticism on," 12 July 2019 The decision, though, will not ameliorate the all problems. Deanna Paul, Washington Post, "A police body-cam maker won’t use facial recognition yet, for two reasons: Bias and inaccuracy," 28 June 2019 In fact, the unfolding response to the conditions at the border shows exactly how civil liberties and constitutional governance work together to ameliorate genuine crises. David French, National Review, "In the New York Times, a ‘Human Rights’ Professor Calls for Mob Rule," 1 July 2019

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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Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for ameliorate

The first known use of ameliorate was in 1656

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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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