better

adjective
bet·​ter | \ ˈbe-tər How to pronounce better (audio) \

Definition of better

 (Entry 1 of 5)

comparative of good

1 : greater than half for the better part of an hour
2 : improved in health or mental attitude feeling better
3 : more attractive, favorable, or commendable in better circumstances
4 : more advantageous or effective a better solution
5 : improved in accuracy or performance building a better engine

better

verb
bettered; bettering; betters

Definition of better (Entry 2 of 5)

transitive verb

1 : to make better (see better entry 1): such as
a : to make more tolerable or acceptable trying to better the lot of slum dwellers
b : to make more complete or perfect looked forward to bettering her acquaintance with the new neighbors
2 : to surpass in excellence : excel bettered his personal record by nearly three seconds

intransitive verb

: to become better … must be bettering instead of worsening.— Thomas Carlyle

better

adverb

Definition of better (Entry 3 of 5)

comparative of well

1a : in a more excellent manner sings better than I do
b : to greater advantage : preferably some things are better left unsaid
2a : to a higher or greater degree he knows the story better than you do
b : more it is better than nine miles to the next town

better

noun

Definition of better (Entry 4 of 5)

1a : something better (see better entry 1) I expected better from them
b : a superior especially in merit or rank was respectful of his betters
2 : advantage, victory get the better of her

Definition of better (Entry 5 of 5)

: had better (see better entry 3 sense 1b) you better hurry

Synonyms & Antonyms for better

Synonyms: Verb

Synonyms: Adverb

Synonyms: Noun

Antonyms: Noun

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Choose the Right Synonym for better

Verb

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

Examples of better in a Sentence

Adjective Her second book is better than her first one. This one is no better than that one. She's a better golfer than I am. He's a better singer than he is an actor. He's much better with children now that he's a father himself. The weather is better today than it was yesterday. They came up with a better solution to the problem. Don't you have something better to do than to watch TV all day? Her work wasn't that good at first, but it's getting better. Her work just keeps getting better and better. Verb They are trying to better the lives of working people. He looked forward to bettering his acquaintance with the new neighbors. The team has bettered its chances of winning the championship. She bettered her previous performance. He set a record that has never been equaled or bettered. Adverb “How is she doing in school?” “She did badly at first, but now she's doing much better.” She sings better than I do. He sings better than he acts. “Instead of writing to her, I'm going to visit her in person.” “Even better.” He knows the story much better than you do. Her paintings have become better known in recent years. There's nothing I'd like better than to see you again. Noun They shouldn't treat him that way. He deserves better. be polite to your betters and to your inferiors in equal measure See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But those tires will need to be better in a lot of ways, explained David Reese, Goodyear’s vice president of product development. Sean Mcdonnell, cleveland, 6 Aug. 2022 The dosage is certainly higher, the packaging is certainly better, and the regulations are certainly stricter. Jacob Stern, The Atlantic, 5 Aug. 2022 Overall, the better-than-expected earnings were the main reason behind positive investor sentiment toward the stock. Trefis Team, Forbes, 4 Aug. 2022 Heineken NV reported better-than-expected beer sales as customers kept drinking, but maintained a cautious outlook amid inflationary pressures. Cagan Koc, Fortune, 1 Aug. 2022 The better-than-usual plate appearances were backed up by a solid pitching performance, especially from five relievers out of the bullpen, in the Tigers' 4-2 victory over the Blue Jays in the second of four games at Rogers Centre. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, 30 July 2022 As with the oat bars, Ellie offers a better-for-you bake, this one made with whole-wheat flour, enhanced with the tenderizing effects of yogurt and honey. Becky Krystal, Washington Post, 30 July 2022 Amazon shares jumped more than 12 percent in after-hours trading Thursday after the online retail giant reported better-than-expected quarterly sales and strong, continuing growth from Amazon Web Services. Harold Maass, The Week, 29 July 2022 Stock gains in recent weeks have been fueled by better-than-expected corporate earnings reports and falling bond yields, which have pulled back after soaring much of this year on expectations of higher interest rates. CBS News, 29 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Build the wall, and welcome in people from around the world who want to better themselves and will be productive members of our society. Anchorage Daily News, 5 Aug. 2022 Researchers say this perspective opens the door for employers and health providers to offer a range of modalities that may work for people looking to better their overall health. Alexa Mikhail, Fortune, 18 July 2022 Rarely in investing is there the opportunity to invest in a project that has the potential to better your community and infuse the local economy with new jobs. Bob Mangat, Forbes, 14 Mar. 2022 The initial interpretation of ETC was that prisoners could participate in certain programs to better themselves and earn credits toward more time in halfway houses, residential transition centers. Walter Pavlo, Forbes, 22 Jan. 2022 In the wide-ranging conversation, Cooper also opened up about how Arnett helped him on his initial path to recovery, and the two bonded over wanting to better themselves for the sake of their kids. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 15 June 2022 The First Step Act gave people who are incarcerated a chance to earn time off their sentence through good behavior or steps to better themselves. Van Jones And Janos Marton, CNN, 26 Apr. 2022 Russell Westbrook came over, patted James on the top of the head and Davis on the shoulder, trying to better the situation. Los Angeles Times, 9 Feb. 2022 Instead, do your best to better yourself a little bit every day for big results. Chicago Tribune, 4 June 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Meta apparently believes that AI can learn to do better. Wired, 7 Aug. 2022 Different kinds of algorithms and calculations may be better suited to one kind of quantum computer over another. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 5 Aug. 2022 Two subclasses of equity do even better than the S&P 500 when using the buy strategy: international stocks and U.S. growth stocks. Derek Horstmeyer, WSJ, 5 Aug. 2022 Objections have included arguments about cost; whether administering overdose treatments enables drug use or addresses the root of the problem; and whether paramedics are better suited to administer naloxone. Annie Berman, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Aug. 2022 Repositioning an employee into a role better suited for them creates a business culture that truly cares about its employees’ happiness while also increasing productivity and employee retention. Cindy Kosor, Forbes, 4 Aug. 2022 The EnvironOxide range of pigments has been made from AMD in neighboring Pennsylvania for two decades, but Riefler says True Pigments uses a different method that needs less space and is better suited to the conditions at Truetown. Chelsea Lee, CNN, 2 Aug. 2022 This high-end egg chair features a cushion covered in Sunbrella fabric, which is better suited to outdoor conditions than polyester or olefin. Rachel Klein, Popular Mechanics, 29 July 2022 Kerr had sought to breed bees that would be more efficient honey producers and better suited for warmer tropical climate. Jonmaesha Beltran, The Arizona Republic, 28 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That’s about double the pace of pre-coronavirus times, a surge in part explained by the transition of sports betters into day trading in the absence of live sports. David Z. Morris, Fortune, 20 May 2020 Setting aside the Escape, each of the other rivals that trailed it to the finish line has a trait or two—be it sportiness, roominess, cargo volume, or feature count—that matches or betters what the CX-5 brings to the fight. Rich Ceppos, Car and Driver, 20 Apr. 2020 Seasoned sports betters looking for an easy onboarding into digital gaming are slowly finding their way onto sites that allow betting on sports sims. Cecilia D'anastasio, Wired, 4 Apr. 2020 But every Wednesday in the city, the races are still running and the betters are still betting. Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, 31 Mar. 2020 Or perhaps at America itself for failing the expectations of our moral betters? Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, 24 Sep. 2019 In many ways the Model 3 also betters established luxury sedans such as the BMW 3 Series. Washington Post, 15 Jan. 2020 Beamon’s leap of 29 feet and 2 1-2 inches betters the mark by one foot, 9 3-4 inches. Paul Montella, San Diego Union-Tribune, 13 Oct. 2019 As with many other arrangements, the content industry took up with Facebook on the promise of a simpler life—the knotty grot-work of reach and revenue would be handed over to our betters. Jason Linkins, The New Republic, 31 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb Researchers say this perspective opens the door for employers and health providers to offer a range of modalities that may work for people looking to better their overall health. Alexa Mikhail, Fortune, 18 July 2022 Portwood went live on Instagram after news of the ruling went public Tuesday, sharing that she is dedicated to staying positive and exploring her options, also emphasizing the work she's done to better herself in recent years. Angela Andaloro, PEOPLE.com, 28 July 2022 Instead, do your best to better yourself a little bit every day for big results. Chicago Tribune, 4 June 2022 The First Step Act gave people who are incarcerated a chance to earn time off their sentence through good behavior or steps to better themselves. Van Jones And Janos Marton, CNN, 26 Apr. 2022 The initial interpretation of ETC was that prisoners could participate in certain programs to better themselves and earn credits toward more time in halfway houses, residential transition centers. Walter Pavlo, Forbes, 22 Jan. 2022 In the wide-ranging conversation, Cooper also opened up about how Arnett helped him on his initial path to recovery, and the two bonded over wanting to better themselves for the sake of their kids. Kathleen Walsh, Glamour, 15 June 2022 With a beauty brand that relies on science and technology to perfect its product formulas, Darya Hope Pishevar is creating a forward-thinking company that also hopes to better the planet with environmental and philanthropic initiatives. Sarah Boyd, Forbes, 8 Mar. 2022 Fees are based upon endless days and nights of working, many failures with a few successes and a continued need to better our craft. Rolling Stone Culture Council, Rolling Stone, 13 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'better.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of better

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

Adverb

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Auxiliary verb

1817, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for better

Adjective

Middle English betere, bettere, bettre, better, going back to Old English betera, betra, bettra, going back to Germanic *batizōn (whence also Old Frisian betera, betra, Old Saxon betara, Old High German bezziro, Old Icelandic betri, Gothic batiza), comparative degree of an otherwise unattested adjective from a base *bat-, whence also, with lengthened o-grade, *bōtō "improvement," whence Old English bōt "a making good, remedy, improvement, atonement," Old Frisian bōte "atonement, compensation," Old Saxon bōta "remedy, aid, deliverance," Old High German buoza "amendment, remedy, penance, punishment," Old Icelandic bót "remedy, atonement, compensation," Gothic bota "usefulness, profit"; *bat- perhaps going back to Indo-European *bhHd-, zero-grade of a root *bheHd-, whence also Sanskrit bhadráḥ "fortunate, blessed, delightful," Avestan hubaδra- "fortunate" (< *bhoHd-ro, with loss of H before an unaspirated voiced stop)

Note: As do other European languages, Germanic forms the comparative and superlative degrees of the adjective meaning "good" from a different base than the positive degree; compare good entry 1, best entry 1. This Indo-European etymology follows G. Kroonen, Etymological Dictionary of Proto-Germanic (Brill, 2009), which for the rule of H loss refers to A. Lubotsky, "Gr. pḗgnumi : Skt. pajrá- and loss of laryngeals before mediae in Indo-Iranian," Münchener Studien zur Sprachwissenschaft, Band 40 (1981), pp. 133-38. Other opinions, however, are not in favor of the connection, or agnostic. See A.L. Lloyd and O. Springer, Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Althochdeutschen, Band 1, s.v. baz, where the history of the etymology is traced. M. Mayrhofer maintained that Sanskrit bhadrá- should rather be connected with bhándate "is praised, receives praise" (see Etymologisches Wörterbuch des Altindoarischen, Band 2 [Heidelberg, 1996], p. 244).

Verb

Middle English betteren, bettren "to improve, remedy, have the advantage," going back to Old English beterian "to improve, make better," going back to Germanic *batizōjan- (whence also Old Frisian beteria, betria "to atone, improve," Old Saxon betaron "to mend," Old High German bezzirōn "to improve, enrich," Old Icelandic betra "to improve"), verbal derivative of *batizōn better entry 1

Note: In English and other Germanic languages this verb has been augmented by re-formation from the comparative adjective. Note that evidence for the English verb is practically non-existent between Old English and ca. 1400.

Adverb

Middle English bettre, betere, derivative of betere better entry 1

Note: This formation replaces early Modern English, Middle English, and Old English bet, the original Germanic adverbial counterpart to better entry 1

Noun

Middle English bettre, betere, going back to Old English betere, noun derivative of betera, betra better entry 1

Auxiliary verb

by ellipsis from had better

Learn More About better

Time Traveler for better

Time Traveler

The first known use of better was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near better

Bettendorf

better

better 'ole

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Statistics for better

Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Better.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/better. Accessed 18 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for better

better

adjective
bet·​ter | \ ˈbe-tər How to pronounce better (audio) \

Kids Definition of better

 (Entry 1 of 4)

comparative of good

1 : more satisfactory or skillful than another a better solution a better player
2 : improved in health I was sick but now I'm better.
better part
: more than half We waited the better part of an hour.

better

verb
bettered; bettering

Kids Definition of better (Entry 2 of 4)

: to make or become more satisfactory They are trying to better their performance.

better

adverb

Kids Definition of better (Entry 3 of 4)

comparative of well

1 : in a superior or more excellent way He sings better than I do.
2 : to a higher or greater degree She knows the story better than I do.

better

noun

Kids Definition of better (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : something that is more satisfactory This is a change for the better.
2 : advantage sense 2, victory She got the better of her opponent.

More from Merriam-Webster on better

Nglish: Translation of better for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of better for Arabic Speakers

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