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 With those cases, hundreds of billions of dollars sent to states were used to plug budget holes and not to ameliorate the effects of cigarette use. Eric Heisig, cleveland, "Ohio attorney general concedes defeat in legislative attempt to control opioid litigation," 22 Oct. 2019 Thirty-five percent found themselves out of a job for reasons that flexibility might have ameliorated: Thirteen percent quit due to job dissatisfaction, 8% due to poor health and 1% due to other personal concerns such as a spouse's illness. Sarah Green Carmichael, chicagotribune.com, "Older workers, like millennials, just want a little flex time," 17 Oct. 2019 This year's Nobel Prize in economics honors three researchers who pioneered the use of randomized controlled trials to determine how best to ameliorate global poverty. Adrian Cho, Science | AAAS, "Economics Nobel honors trio taking an experimental approach to fighting poverty," 14 Oct. 2019 However, the surreal outpouring is punctuated with a surprising amount of ameliorating humor — an effective counterpoint to Dorian’s grim unraveling. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Another picture of Dorian Gray hits the stage, and this one is a ‘Wilde’ ride," 30 Aug. 2019 For decades, experts have tried to ameliorate the loss of the Columbia’s wild fish by installing ladders that allow the fish to swim around the dams, and by placing them in barges and trucks for transport around the dams. Jim Robbins, New York Times, "How Long Before These Salmon Are Gone? ‘Maybe 20 Years’," 16 Sep. 2019 Drugs can ameliorate some symptoms but cannot stop the progression of the disease. Jenna Sternberg, Smithsonian, "The Gut Microbiome Could Speed Up the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease," 13 Sep. 2019 Seaweed also ameliorates acidification, deoxygenation, and other marine impacts of global warming that threaten the biodiversity of the seas and the source of food and livelihoods for hundreds of millions of people. Todd Woody, National Geographic, "Seaweed 'forests' can help fight climate change," 29 Aug. 2019 The memoirs of former Obama aides follow a similar pattern in reckoning with the catastrophe in Syria: the aides discuss their revulsion at the slaughter and their desire to use American power to ameliorate it. Dexter Filkins, The New Yorker, "The Moral Logic of Humanitarian Intervention," 9 Sep. 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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Statistics for ameliorate

Last Updated

17 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for ameliorate

The first known use of ameliorate was in 1656

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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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