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 The more a production can control its environment — and who enters it — the better. Nina Metz, chicagotribune.com, "In a world of virtual sets, that movie or TV show, like ‘The Mandalorian’, might not be where you think — or anywhere at all," 5 Aug. 2020 This year Fortune is adding a new factor to our original four: how an executive wields her power to shape her company and the wider world for the better. Fortune, "Fortune is adding a new dimension to its Most Powerful Women list," 5 Aug. 2020 Still, Polikoff agreed with me that public attitudes have changed a lot since the 1960s — fortunately for the better. Clarence Page Chicago Tribune (tns), Star Tribune, "Trump's cynical, fear peddling, save-the-suburbs gambit won't work — I think," 3 Aug. 2020 The move was to clear cap space, but Indiana has clearly gotten the better of the deal as Warren is averaging 19.2 points on a career-high 53.5% shooting from the field. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "Former Suns forward T.J. Warren erupts for career-high 53 points in leading Pacers past 76ers," 3 Aug. 2020 However, in two matchups against the Pelicans this season, Jrue Holiday has gotten the better of him. Christian Clark, NOLA.com, "Pelicans' starters seeking to rediscover rhythm in must-win game against Grizzlies: Here's how to watch," 2 Aug. 2020 For better or worse, the power of that act will never be viewed the same way. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, "Opinion: NBA players kneeling during the national anthem doesn't seem like an act of defiance," 1 Aug. 2020 Each and every one [sic] of you have changed my life for the better ... Kaya Yurieff, CNN, "'Everyone is going cray cray': TikTok users freak out over possible US ban," 1 Aug. 2020 For better or worse, Finebaum will be forever linked with Updyke. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, "Paul Finebaum remembers Harvey Updyke: ‘Singular most important moment in the history of the show’," 31 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Apparently, Styles has spent his quarantine trying to better his Italian. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Harry Styles Has a New Little Mustache," 21 July 2020 He was sentenced to 45 years in prison and released last year under the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act (IRAA), which requires that inmates have served at least 15 years in prison and tried to better themselves there. Keith L. Alexander, Washington Post, "Former D.C. inmates use virtual meetings for support, encouragement as they adjust to life outside prison," 9 July 2020 The Republican and Democratic bills both support a version of a ban on chokeholds and efforts to better the relationship between police departments and black people. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "'Audacious, repugnant behavior': Tim Scott claims liberals racially attacked him after police reform speech," 30 June 2020 Those of us who are going to university to better ourselves will find heavy debts and empty pockets, all for a dream that may never come to fruition. Beckett Legore, ExpressNews.com, "Class of 2020 positioned to make societal changes," 10 June 2020 Moreover, there is a newfound edge to the steering—a tactile precision that betters the 850 Turbo wagon's already exemplary feel. Arthur St. Antoine, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1995 Volvo 850 T-5R," 18 May 2020 Better are the flights of fancy that imagine us all as individuals seeking to better our own condition, oblivious to attendant social costs. Noam Cohen, Wired, "Silicon Valley Is Saving Our Asses—For Now," 27 Mar. 2020 The researchers hope that the engineers building computer vision algorithms will use the repository to better their systems. Courtney Linder, Popular Mechanics, "Why Machine Learning Is Still Dumb (And How We Might Fix It)," 17 Dec. 2019 The trip gave me an even deeper appreciation for how these precious stones are sourced and produced, and how this industry is looking to better our environment and world. Micaela Erlanger, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Hollywood Stylist Traveled to Africa to See How Diamonds Are Recovered Firsthand," 12 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb In handing down his ruling, Legier also castigated the bar for failing to pledge to do better in the future. Jeff Adelson, NOLA.com, "Grand Isle bar is shut down for 30 days after violating coronavirus restrictions," 6 Aug. 2020 Republican presidential nominee John McCain did better in counties that received significant increases in federal grants. David Faris, TheWeek, "How the Electoral College made America's pandemic response worse," 5 Aug. 2020 Standing with the current system won’t make things better. Tristan Gorman, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Colorado’s police accountability should not be feared, nor should “defunding the police”," 4 Aug. 2020 If apologizing will make your relationship better, then do it. Annie Lane, oregonlive, "Dear Annie: Sister causes rift by showing up early to help with reunion," 4 Aug. 2020 Public disclosure might also help protect workers and incentivize businesses to do better. Christa Westerberg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Opinion: Wisconsin's citizens can handle the truth when it comes to coronavirus infections in the state's businesses," 4 Aug. 2020 On both issues, Google CEO Sundar Pichai did not directly dispute the claims, but instead argued that Google is focused on trying to make its products better for users. Brian Fung, CNN, "Tech titans had their day before Congress. Now what?," 31 July 2020 Plenty of evidence shows that companies that have more diverse voices on boards and in management do better financially. Patrick Kennedy, Star Tribune, "Among Minnesota's top paid public company CEOs, two are people of color; four are women," 31 July 2020 This isn’t absolutely required for first-time brewers, but an immersion chiller ($40) really does help make your beer better. Parker Hall, Wired, "Everything You Need To Make Beer, Wine, Cider, and Mead," 11 July 2020 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 Apparently, Styles has spent his quarantine trying to better his Italian. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, "Harry Styles Has a New Little Mustache," 21 July 2020 He was sentenced to 45 years in prison and released last year under the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act (IRAA), which requires that inmates have served at least 15 years in prison and tried to better themselves there. Keith L. Alexander, Washington Post, "Former D.C. inmates use virtual meetings for support, encouragement as they adjust to life outside prison," 9 July 2020 The Republican and Democratic bills both support a version of a ban on chokeholds and efforts to better the relationship between police departments and black people. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "'Audacious, repugnant behavior': Tim Scott claims liberals racially attacked him after police reform speech," 30 June 2020 Those of us who are going to university to better ourselves will find heavy debts and empty pockets, all for a dream that may never come to fruition. Beckett Legore, ExpressNews.com, "Class of 2020 positioned to make societal changes," 10 June 2020 The trip gave me an even deeper appreciation for how these precious stones are sourced and produced, and how this industry is looking to better our environment and world. Micaela Erlanger, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Hollywood Stylist Traveled to Africa to See How Diamonds Are Recovered Firsthand," 12 Dec. 2019 Moreover, there is a newfound edge to the steering—a tactile precision that betters the 850 Turbo wagon's already exemplary feel. Arthur St. Antoine, Car and Driver, "Tested: 1995 Volvo 850 T-5R," 18 May 2020 Teachers said the time leads to better relationships with their students than they’ve ever had. USA TODAY, "Is online school program backed by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg the answer for coronavirus closures?," 2 May 2020 According to the researchers, identification of a person’s HLA genes, which can be done quickly and inexpensively, may help to better predict the severity of disease—and even to identify those who would benefit most from vaccination. Loïc Mangin, Scientific American, "Do Your Genes Predispose You to COVID-19?," 30 Apr. 2020

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

8 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Better.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/better. Accessed 14 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for better

better

adjective
How to pronounce better (audio)

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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More from Merriam-Webster on better

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for better

Spanish Central: Translation of better

Nglish: Translation of better for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of better for Arabic Speakers

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