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

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 As the United Nations turns 75 this year, the world body keeps churning out increasingly grim reports on the global threats it was created to ameliorate. David Wainer, Bloomberg.com, "Absent World Leaders Worsen UN’s Gridlock and Frustrations at 75," 21 Sep. 2020 Cloud seeding has been used since the 1970s and could help ameliorate today’s droughts. Parag Khanna, Wired, "Geoengineering Is the Only Solution to Our Climate Calamities," 20 Sep. 2020 Monday's debate featured questions over how each candidate would ameliorate the suffering North Carolinians are experiencing because of coronavirus. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "Biden makes his first visit to Florida as Democratic nominee," 15 Sep. 2020 Another attempt to ameliorate the effects of mass immigration is seen in the plethora of rules designed to protect American workers from the large-scale importation of foreign workers. Mark Krikorian, National Review, "Immigration: Numbers Are of the Essence," 4 Sep. 2020 Hiring more black officers would definitionally ameliorate the problem with cross-racial identifications, too. James R. Copland, National Review, "In Policing, Race Matters," 20 Aug. 2020 Kushner said the Trump administration had been repeatedly rebuffed by the Palestinians despite numerous attempts to try to ameliorate their conditions. Tia Goldenberg, Star Tribune, "After UAE-Israel deal, Kushner slams Palestinian leaders," 17 Aug. 2020 These trials document that adequate intakes of vitamin C (up to 1 g) and zinc (up to 30 mg) ameliorate symptoms and shorten the duration of respiratory tract infections, including the common cold. Anchorage Daily News, "Environmental Nutrition: Boost your immunity," 16 Aug. 2020 Universal vote by mail could ameliorate this problem. Libby Watson, The New Republic, "The Real Pandemic Gap Is Between the Comfortable and the Afflicted," 14 Aug. 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

1 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ameliorate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ameliorate. Accessed 1 Oct. 2020.

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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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