Definition of ameliorate
: to make better or more tolerable medicine to ameliorate the pain
: to grow better
ameliorationplay \-ˌmēl-yə-ˈrā-shən, -ˌmē-lē-ə-\ noun
ameliorativeplay \-ˈmēl-yə-ˌrā-tiv, -ˈmē-lē-ə-\ adjective
amelioratorplay \-ˌrā-tər\ noun
amelioratoryplay \-rə-ˌtȯr-ē\ adjective
ameliorate was our Word of the Day on 03/21/2017. Hear the podcast!
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 History, 1989
trying to ameliorate the suffering of people who have lost their jobs
This medicine should help ameliorate the pain.
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").
Origin and Etymology of ameliorate
alteration of meliorate —see meliorate
First Known Use: 1656
Synonym Discussion of ameliorate
AMELIORATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of ameliorate for English Language Learners
: to make (something, such as a problem) better, less painful, etc.
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up ameliorate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).