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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective No one ever changed the world for the better by following a script. John R. Kasich, WSJ, 7 June 2021 Your luck can change for the better by late August, when your head for business gives you an advantage. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, 7 June 2021 The changes were not always for the better, according to a series of reports presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Society of Nutrition. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, 7 June 2021 No one was better than Kavadas, who had a grand slam among his five homers and finished 6 for 10 with 13 RBIs. Eric Olson, ajc, 7 June 2021 That's actually better than the numbers for the 18 to 64 age group, which were 64.7% and 65.1%, respectively. Miriam Fauzia, USA TODAY, 6 June 2021 Outside linebacker Tyus Bowser is better in coverage than rushing the passer and rookie Odafe Oweh is a project who won’t be ready for prime time for at least a year. Mike Preston, baltimoresun.com, 5 June 2021 The hours were tough, but the pay was better than in his previous jobs, one at a retirement home and another serving food at a dog track. New York Times, 5 June 2021 The time Espada spent in a four-by-12-foot cell on death row for seven years changed him for the better, Gross said, adding that it’s not something that can be said of everyone who spends time there. Jacob Beltran, San Antonio Express-News, 4 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Pay For Educational Courses Push your team to better themselves. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 3 June 2021 At the outset, the founding CEOs had expressed a desire to better our health system for everyone, and Gawande had built his public career on case studies. Erika Fry, Fortune, 1 June 2021 Despite taking positive action and working to better himself in all ways possible, the mind is a powerful place. Melanie Fine, Forbes, 6 May 2021 Parler’s app was also booted from Apple’s App Store in January but will return after improvements were made to better moderate hate speech and violent content. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, 22 Apr. 2021 This instant feedback and data will allow our healthcare professionals to better themselves and in turn the care of us all. Mark Minevich, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2021 Butler and a team of male residents called MORE (Men of Richmond Heights Empowered), who seek to better the city, drove around and counted the non-working lights, and even recorded the power company’s numbers assigned to each pole. cleveland, 21 Apr. 2021 In order to better your chance of profitability and success, there's work to be done on tasks outside of work. Sonia Chopra, Forbes, 16 Apr. 2021 The problem is that our workforce and career preparation programs, in our school systems, colleges and various technical training centers, fail most Americans who want to better themselves. Jeb Bush For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, 8 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb On the other hand, the Dodgers do better than the Padres and Giants in quite a few categories. Houston Mitchell Assistant Sports Editor, Los Angeles Times, 8 June 2021 Visions of angry civilians calling for the government to do better for its marginalized communities as many are dying. Manuel Betancourt, Vulture, 7 June 2021 International-stock funds did even better in May, with a 3.2% gain, though their year-to-date gain of 10.2% still trails their U.S. counterparts. William Power, WSJ, 6 June 2021 Some of the study participants even did better at their tasks when compared to the seven expert echolocators, who have more than a decade of experience using echolocation to navigate. Theresa Machemer, Smithsonian Magazine, 4 June 2021 Most don't thrive in bright, direct light but do better—and grow bushy rather than leggy—in bright, indirect light. Southern Living, 4 June 2021 After about two years, those who received the drug did better, on average. Carla K. Johnson, chicagotribune.com, 4 June 2021 After all, if the US -- which botched much of its pandemic response -- can all but come out of the other side, nations with the means and where mask wearing is not a political statement could do even better. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 3 June 2021 But the effort has forced them to navigate a mélange of requirements, and Eric Lander thinks the government can do better. Jeffrey Mervis, Science | AAAS, 3 June 2021 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 Not feeling the need to leave, not feeling the need to do anything, to better himself, not feeling the need to protect his girlfriend, not not being able to fix his own car, just so consumed with his own stuff. Jeff Ewing, Forbes, 13 May 2021 Despite taking positive action and working to better himself in all ways possible, the mind is a powerful place. Melanie Fine, Forbes, 6 May 2021 Parler’s app was also booted from Apple’s App Store in January but will return after improvements were made to better moderate hate speech and violent content. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, 22 Apr. 2021 Butler and a team of male residents called MORE (Men of Richmond Heights Empowered), who seek to better the city, drove around and counted the non-working lights, and even recorded the power company’s numbers assigned to each pole. cleveland, 21 Apr. 2021 In order to better your chance of profitability and success, there's work to be done on tasks outside of work. Sonia Chopra, Forbes, 16 Apr. 2021 The problem is that our workforce and career preparation programs, in our school systems, colleges and various technical training centers, fail most Americans who want to better themselves. Jeb Bush For Cnn Business Perspectives, CNN, 8 Apr. 2021 Life throws problems at grown-ups, too: Ramona and Beezus' father is unemployed for a spell, works as a grocery-store clerk, goes to college to try to better himself, and somehow makes things work out. Gregory Mcnamee, CNN, 27 Mar. 2021 By late July or early August, you may be inspired by someone or something and might see an advantageous opportunity to better yourself. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, 16 Mar. 2021

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.

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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, Verb, Adverb, Noun, and Auxiliary verb

Middle English bettre, from Old English betera; akin to Old English bōt remedy, Sanskrit bhadra fortunate

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Time Traveler for better

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for better

Last Updated

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Better.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/better. Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for better

better

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of better

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: higher in quality
: more skillful
: more attractive, appealing, effective, useful, etc.

better

verb

English Language Learners Definition of better (Entry 2 of 4)

: to make (something) better
: to be or do better than (something or someone) : to improve on (something or someone)

better

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of better (Entry 3 of 4)

: in a better way
used to suggest that something should or should not be done
: to a higher or greater degree

better

noun

English Language Learners Definition of better (Entry 4 of 4)

: something that is better : better behavior

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.

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