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

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 The postmodernist attacks on the Enlightenment as coercive, disciplinarian and hierarchical, Mr. Robertson claims, ignore its softer dimension, its humane sympathy and its concern to ameliorate suffering. Jeffrey Collins, WSJ, "‘The Enlightenment’ Review: Daring to Feel," 12 Mar. 2021 For a few years now, my colleagues and I have been exploring the potential of these networks to find more ways drugs could ameliorate disease. Nevan Krogan, The Conversation, "3 medical innovations fueled by COVID-19 that will outlast the pandemic," 9 Mar. 2021 But the more pragmatic way forward—for the science and business of psychedelics, if not the outlaw culture of psychedelia—would be to ameliorate these tensions, by offering clandestine chemists a path toward legitimacy. John Semley, The New Republic, "The Outlaw Chemists Who Deserve a Cut of the Psychedelic Gold Rush," 8 Mar. 2021 The pair contended that paying reviewers could ameliorate some widely noted flaws of peer review, including long delays in receiving reviews that too often lack depth and substance. Jeffrey Brainard, Science | AAAS, "The $450 question: Should journals pay peer reviewers?," 1 Mar. 2021 But their failure to ameliorate the groundswell of anti-government sentiment—and in some cases the appearance of empathy for young activists—appears to have cost them precious trust and credibility. Mary Hui, Quartz, "China has a gift for Hong Kong: authoritarian elections," 9 Mar. 2021 In other words, there were measures that the state could have taken to ameliorate its concern over the trustworthiness of the religious adviser and still grant Smith’s request. Nick Tomaino, National Review, "Even on Death Row, Religious Liberty Must Be Protected," 7 Mar. 2021 Fortunately, many of the policies needed to ameliorate COVID-19’s damage would also begin to address the longer-standing mortality crisis. Jacob Bor, Scientific American, "Trump’s Policy Failures Have Exacted a Heavy Toll on Public Health," 5 Mar. 2021 Is there any way to soften that or ameliorate that? Jen Chaney, Vulture, "No, They Weren’t Dead the Whole Time," 25 Feb. 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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Last Updated

5 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ameliorate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ameliorate. Accessed 11 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on ameliorate

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