ameliorate

verb
ame·​lio·​rate | \ ə-ˈmēl-yə-ˌrāt How to pronounce ameliorate (audio) , -ˈmē-lē-ə- \
ameliorated; ameliorating

Essential Meaning of ameliorate

formal : to make (something, such as a problem) better, less painful, etc. trying to ameliorate the suffering of people who have lost their jobs This medicine should help ameliorate the pain.

Full Definition of ameliorate

transitive verb

: to make better or more tolerable medicine to ameliorate the pain

intransitive verb

: to grow better

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 What is the answer to ameliorate these needs in the changing workplace? Jedidiah Alex Koh, Forbes, 24 Sep. 2021 The more the President can ameliorate these problems through the levers of policy, the more his numbers will likely improve. Julian Zelizer, CNN, 6 Nov. 2021 The doctor’s duty was to care for the wounded, to ameliorate suffering, and the soldier must stand down in the face of that moral duty. Washington Post, 29 Oct. 2021 Several actions by our government leaders could quickly ameliorate the situation. Steve Forbes, Forbes, 28 Oct. 2021 Higher prices for natural gas and electricity have spread concern among European governments, which are taking steps to ameliorate increases in residential utility bills through subsidies and tax cuts. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 2 Oct. 2021 Human rights watchdogs, however, say that such institutions have done little to ameliorate the country’s authoritarian system, in which the king controls all branches of the government and there is no free press. Ben Sales, sun-sentinel.com, 6 Oct. 2021 Buoyed by several rounds of federal funding, local governments and civic organizations spent millions of dollars to ameliorate this spike in hunger, drawing in droves of new volunteers and forming new partnerships with local farms and businesses. Washington Post, 19 Oct. 2021 The executive committee argued that this plan would ameliorate the potential for conflicts of interest because trustees would not choose the specific research and companies that would receive those funds. BostonGlobe.com, 10 Oct. 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

1 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ameliorate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ameliorate. Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

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Nglish: Translation of ameliorate for Spanish Speakers

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