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 While the insolvency rate is expected to be better this year, many companies still face serious cash-flow constraints. Stella Yifan Xie, WSJ, "For China’s Small Businesses, Life Is Still Far From Normal," 2 May 2021 Carve out time this month to connect with those that inspire you to do and be better. Meghan Rose, Glamour, "Gemini Tarot Horoscopes: May 2021," 1 May 2021 The weather for this weekend couldn’t have been better. Wally Hall, Arkansas Online, "OPINION | WALLY HALL: Kentucky Derby signifies return to normalcy," 1 May 2021 No, not Jim Druckenmiller and Steve Spurrier, although those two would serve as a constant reminder how much better the 49ers are these days at drafting quarterbacks. Scott Ostler, San Francisco Chronicle, "49ers need Kaepernick and Smith reunited for the cause, and for Trey Lance," 1 May 2021 Nothing is better in a freelancer’s day than to feel you’ve earned your pleasure. Daniel Mendelsohn, Town & Country, "How to Check Twitter, Read Gibbon, and Watch The Serpent, All While Remembering to Call Your Mother," 1 May 2021 Losing tonight, oddly, may preserve the ability to choose whether the No. 1 or No. 2 seed will be better later in the year. Andy Larsen, The Salt Lake Tribune, "The Triple Team: Did the Jazz go all-out to win vs. Phoenix? Arguments can be made for both sides," 30 Apr. 2021 Of course his team isn’t better without Antetokounmpo, but Budenholzer has looked for a silver lining in his absences. Jim Owczarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Bucks 108, Bulls 98: With Giannis on the bench again, Milwaukee manages to grab a little momentum," 30 Apr. 2021 My one quibble are the roasted sweet potatoes, which would be better without what tastes like granola sprinkled over them. Washington Post, "There’s a lot in the name, and on the plate, at Ruthie’s All-Day in Arlington," 30 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb 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, "Can government rein in social media? One Utah leader is going to try," 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, "4 Advanced Innovations Moving Society Forward In 2021," 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, "Seeing the light: Richmond Heights leaders expected to reactivate all city’s street lights this year," 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, "Your Bottom Line Connects To Self-Care," 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, "Jeb Bush: America is failing its workforce," 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, "Remembering beloved children's author Beverly Cleary," 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, "Horoscope for March 16, 2021: Leo, deal with issues rationally; Aquarius, think for yourself," 16 Mar. 2021 Shows up every day with a purpose to better himself and his teammates. oregonlive, "Oregon high school ‘fall’ season preview: Highlighting standout football players in Class 5A," 4 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb But nobody until Randle had gotten so much better so quickly at such a high volume, according to Stats LLC. Ben Cohen, WSJ, "The NBA Star Who Fixed His Shot—and the Knicks," 4 May 2021 And as far as that bill goes, the president is getting a little bit better, Martha. ABC News, "'This Week' Transcript 5-2-21: Jake Sullivan, Sen. John Barrasso, Adm. Mike Mullen & Dr. Ashish Jha," 2 May 2021 But the general results were a smidge better — at least there were runners in scoring position. Evan Petzold, Detroit Free Press, "How Jeimer Candelario is carrying empty Detroit Tigers offense through losses," 1 May 2021 Siskiyou and Plumas counties, though faring a bit better, still have one-dose coverage trailing well behind the statewide average. Los Angeles Times, "California’s secret weapon in COVID-19 success: We are not skeptical about the vaccine," 1 May 2021 And infection rates in the old were unusually low, perhaps because those who survive to old age in India are often wealthier and were better able to socially distance, the researchers argue. Jon Cohen, Science | AAAS, "Will India’s devastating COVID-19 surge provide data that clear up its death ‘paradox’?," 30 Apr. 2021 People with flexible schedules, transportation and regular access to the health care system have been better able to get appointments on their own or with help from family and friends. Ryan Gabrielson, ProPublica, "Counties at Highest Risk for COVID Harm Often Have Lowest Vaccination Rates," 30 Apr. 2021 As the writer Geoff Colvin noted in a shrewd analysis for Fortune, candidate Biden followed longstanding management-consulting practice by dressing like the clients but a little bit better. New York Times, "Some Notes on 100 Days of Biden Style," 28 Apr. 2021 Operators have gotten better as more skins have been released. Erik Kain, Forbes, "I’ve Completely Changed My Mind About ‘Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War’," 27 Apr. 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, "Fortune Brainstorm Finance Is Going Virtual," 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, "Compact SUV Battle: Ford vs. Honda vs. Mazda vs. Subaru vs. Toyota vs. VW," 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, "With Sports on Hold, Restless Gamblers Turn to Videogames," 4 Apr. 2020 But every Wednesday in the city, the races are still running and the betters are still betting. Kristie Lu Stout, CNN, "Hong Kong's night races gallop on during the coronavirus outbreak... but without the fans," 31 Mar. 2020 Or perhaps at America itself for failing the expectations of our moral betters? Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Our Privileged Scolds," 24 Sep. 2019 In many ways the Model 3 also betters established luxury sedans such as the BMW 3 Series. Washington Post, "Edmunds: Five noteworthy electric vehicles to buy in 2020," 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, "AP Sportlight," 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, "The Death of the Good Internet Was an Inside Job," 31 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb Despite taking positive action and working to better himself in all ways possible, the mind is a powerful place. Melanie Fine, Forbes, "A Step Towards Greatness: From Wheelchair To Dream Chair," 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, "Can government rein in social media? One Utah leader is going to try," 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, "Seeing the light: Richmond Heights leaders expected to reactivate all city’s street lights this year," 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, "Your Bottom Line Connects To Self-Care," 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, "Jeb Bush: America is failing its workforce," 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, "Remembering beloved children's author Beverly Cleary," 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, "Horoscope for March 16, 2021: Leo, deal with issues rationally; Aquarius, think for yourself," 16 Mar. 2021 Shows up every day with a purpose to better himself and his teammates. oregonlive, "Oregon high school ‘fall’ season preview: Highlighting standout football players in Class 5A," 4 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

5 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Better.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/better. Accessed 9 May. 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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Comments on better

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