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

beat, eclipse, exceed, excel, outclass, outdistance, outdo, outgun, outmatch, outshine, outstrip, overtop, surpass, top, tower (over), transcend

Synonyms: Adverb

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Synonyms: Noun

elder, senior, superior

Antonyms: Noun

inferior, subordinate, underling

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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

Employees who organized last week’s unexpectedly massive 20,000-person walkout at Google offices worldwide are now pushing company leadership to institute new policy changes and put in place better protections for employees. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Google employees push back after mishandled sexual harassment revelations," 8 Nov. 2018 In an ideal situation, the iPad can do more things (and better things) than a Chromebook for students. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "2018 iPad review: Content creation with compromises," 6 Apr. 2018 Better weather is forecast later this week across Florida as a ridge of high pressure that’s now over the western Atlantic will build west back into the state, McMichael said. USA TODAY, "Southwest Florida floods, breaks rainfall records," 28 Aug. 2017 Better fisheries management in some areas also has played a role in reducing discards, including strict rules on reducing waste and forbidding discards in Norway and parts of Europe. Laine Welch, Alaska Dispatch News, "Mixed salmon bag: Strong year for chums and reds while pinks and kings falter," 26 Aug. 2017 Better health through environmental action—that’s good news indeed for engaging people in marine conservation. Elin Kelsey, Smithsonian, "What Humpback Whales Can Teach Us About Compassion," 18 Aug. 2017 Better angels with a touch of badassery! (--- ^ with love for @jamesloduca) Have a beautifully badass weekend, everyone. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "Mitt Romney Claps Back at Trump," 18 Aug. 2017 Better control of Zika's vector, the Aedes aegypti mosquito that thrives in the hotter, southern part of the country, doesn't explain the dearth of cases. Ryan Cross, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: Disappearing Zika, tricky eclipses, and the world’s oldest ice cores," 18 Aug. 2017 Better babies: Insuring that Hoosiers were breeding the healthiest and most desirable human beings. Dawn Mitchell, Indianapolis Star, "RetroIndy: 10 nostalgic things to see and do at the Indiana State Fair," 11 Aug. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Starting a journey to better the lives of children dealing with a disease that doesn’t discriminate … in Minnesota. Chris Tomasson, Twin Cities, "Vikings’ Kyle Rudolph to ink four-year, $36 million extension, lower cap number," 10 June 2019 The modern cult sales pitch really taps into our desire to better ourselves: to improve our careers, to be a better speaker, to look prettier, to look thinner. Courtney Shea, refinery29.com, "Why You’re Closer To Joining A Cult Than You Think," 3 June 2019 Of the police SUVs, only the Dodge Durango Pursuit 3.6 V-6's 128.8-foot stop bettered it; the Chevrolet Tahoe 5.3 V-8 RWD did the poorest, requiring 145.7 feet. Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver, "2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid AWD Saves Fuel, Hauls Ass," 17 May 2019 Other records in the list can be bettered; this one is very tough to beat. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Mailbag: Seven Reasons Why Mid-Match Coaching is a Terrible Idea," 19 June 2019 The government, for its part, has assembled a militia that wounds or kills those it suspects of supporting the Maoists, so that corporations may better mow down their forests and mine their land. Samanth Subramanian, The New Yorker, "The Prescient Anger of Arundhati Roy," 12 June 2019 Ten of their goals came in the second half as the USA set a new mark for the biggest winning margin in a women's World Cup match, bettering Germany's 11-0 defeat of Argentina in 2007. chicagotribune.com, "Morgan scores five as USA open World Cup defence with record victory," 11 June 2019 But in her personal life, the activist keeps it more low-key, focusing on her health and bettering the planet. Taylore Glynn, Marie Claire, "Rosario Dawson on Meditation, Skincare Secrets, and the Health Habit She Shares with Cory Booker," 7 June 2019 Blewett, who bettered Kingston by seven percentage points, will have another chance to unseat the three-term incumbent in Saturday's runoff. Corbett Smith, Dallas News, "Fight intensifies in second round of East Dallas City Council race between David Blewett, Philip Kingston," 6 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Shooting better would also allow for Brown to take advantage of his quick first step if defenders are forced to play him tighter. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons in Las Vegas Summer League: 5 things to watch," 4 July 2019 Marcus Arroyo has altered some things to the offense to better free up the wide outs and maximize Justin Herbert’s potential. oregonlive.com, "Oregon MVP 10: Mario Cristobal comes in at No. 2 entering 2019," 4 July 2019 The Trump administration had fought hard to include the question, claiming that its inclusion would help them better enforce the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Allegra Kirkland, Teen Vogue, "‘Everyone in America Counts’: Census Won’t Include Discriminatory Citizenship Question," 3 July 2019 But in other studies where intake of food is better regulated and patients don’t replace these free calories with other high-caloric foods, the weight loss is maintained. Jamie Pitlick, Quartzy, "The best and worst sugar substitutes for your health," 3 July 2019 Hopefully, young artists or kids with musical dreams will read this and learn about how to better protect themselves in a negotiation. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Taylor Swift’s Oddly Personal Contract Dispute," 2 July 2019 Nowhere else is our modern dependence on (and possible uses of) the hot stuff better exemplified than New York, a city literally built on steam. Tim Folger, Discover Magazine, "Steam Power: Still Moving Us, Even in the 21st Century," 30 June 2019 Two of the six boys who had been treated with the gene therapy for a year or more performed better on a test of muscle function, but its side effects were severe enough that two other boys were hospitalized. STAT, "Pfizer, with early but hopeful results, leaps into the race for a Duchenne gene therapy," 28 June 2019 Even better: It's directed by Elizabeth Banks, who also takes over the role of Bosley—the Angels' day-to-day liaison with Charlie—from Bill Murray, who played the part in the early aughts. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "The New Charlie's Angels Trailer Is Here, Thank God," 27 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The Electoral College created a sort of board of our betters that would approve or disapprove the choices of the electorate. Kevin Baker, Harper's magazine, "The Crisis of Our Constitution," 10 Jan. 2019 In terms of arresting forward motion, the Camaro betters the Supra's 148-foot measurement by two feet. Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver, "2020 Toyota Supra and Chevrolet Camaro V-6 1LE by the Numbers: A Tale of Two Sixes and an $18K Price Difference," 16 May 2019 Fans/betters are apparently still convinced that Meghan's having a girl, too. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Fans Are Convinced Meghan Markle Will Have Her Baby This Easter Weekend," 17 Apr. 2019 Most betters are estimating that if the child is a girl, the couple will name her after Harry's late mother. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Are Already Talking Baby Names," 18 Oct. 2018 Although Louis wasn't named after his great-grandfather Prince Philip like British betters had hoped, his name is still significant with the Duke of Edinburgh's side of the family. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "This Is How You Actually Pronounce Prince Louis' Name," 27 Apr. 2018 His tally of eight not only matches Neymar and Rooney, but also betters Ryan Giggs from the 2006/07 campaign, Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2012/13 and Xavi in 2008/09. SI.com, "Liverpool Star Joins Exclusive Club After Equalling Champions League Record in Man City Demolition," 5 Apr. 2018 Piloted by Stan Sayres, the speed of 160.3235 mph betters the previous record of 141 mph set in 1939 in England. Morning Brief, The Seattle Times, "WSU quarterback Hilinski had CTE; travel ban upheld | Tuesday Morning Brief, June 26," 26 June 2018 Norwegian teen Jakob Ingebrigtsen's betters the iconic time Alan Webb ran in the mile at the Pre Classic in 2001 that set a U.S. high school record. Ken Goe, OregonLive.com, "The Pre Classic was a great show, but be real about attendance Oregon track & field rundown," 27 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb

Buzz60 Americans trying to better their health often turn to popular fads which claim to be healthy. Elizabeth Lawrence, USA TODAY, "Vaping, juice cleanses, fitness trackers: Some 'healthy' trends are riskier than you think," 4 July 2019 And $15,000 from her neighborhood development fund — discretionary money that council members can use to better their community — will go toward operating expenses, including training and payroll for lifeguards. Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "A splash of good news: One pool in Louisville will open this summer, lawmaker says," 27 June 2019 Views come and views go, but this one won’t have anything intervening for a very long time; bettered still by the sellers, who reportedly trimmed the vista with another $300,000 in festooning their yard. Mark Samuelson, The Denver Post, "With a premium half-acre site overlooking Fox Hollow and foothills, ranch is $1.5M," 7 June 2019 The modern cult sales pitch really taps into our desire to better ourselves: to improve our careers, to be a better speaker, to look prettier, to look thinner. Courtney Shea, refinery29.com, "Why You’re Closer To Joining A Cult Than You Think," 3 June 2019 Of the police SUVs, only the Dodge Durango Pursuit 3.6 V-6's 128.8-foot stop bettered it; the Chevrolet Tahoe 5.3 V-8 RWD did the poorest, requiring 145.7 feet. Andrew Wendler, Car and Driver, "2020 Ford Police Interceptor Utility Hybrid AWD Saves Fuel, Hauls Ass," 17 May 2019 The others tackled problems related to issues like public health and exploration—both of which are also important for bettering the global quality of life. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "Bill Nye wants you to remember it’s still the best time to be alive," 11 June 2019 Starting a journey to better the lives of children dealing with a disease that doesn’t discriminate … in Minnesota. Chris Tomasson, Twin Cities, "Vikings’ Kyle Rudolph to ink four-year, $36 million extension, lower cap number," 10 June 2019 Established in 1999, Panda Cares is the company’s philanthropic arm committed to bettering the health and education of youths and communities in need. Panda Express, azcentral, "Good fortune is best when shared: Panda Express finds success through family," 6 June 2019

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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Statistics for better

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Time Traveler for better

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on better

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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