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 Stars cook up basic dishes using the most exotic and luxurious ingredients and find out which version is better. Washington Post, "What to watch on Tuesday: ‘The Bachelorette’ returns on ABC," 13 Oct. 2020 The country will be better off if the coal industry disappears. Joe Nocera Bloomberg Opinion (tns), Star Tribune, "Trump didn't save coal or steel. To be fair, no one could.," 13 Oct. 2020 The line still had trouble protecting the pocket, but its overall performance was better. Giana Han, al, "Auburn’s offensive line finds stronger lineup but still not settled," 13 Oct. 2020 With over 72,000 reviews and a 4.7-star rating, this Dash waffle maker is proof that everything is better in mini form. Jessica Kasparian, USA TODAY, "10 cult-favorite things you can get on sale for Amazon Prime Day," 13 Oct. 2020 Mississippi State punter Tucker Day might have been even better though, averaging 59.6 yards on five punts. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "What we learned from Kentucky football's win over Mississippi State," 11 Oct. 2020 But those who miss clear signals that things are not better and need changing, well, that seems much worse. Arkansas Online, "OPINION | ART ENGLISH: Seeds of white nationalism," 11 Oct. 2020 In retrospect, certain novels probably could have been better. David Marchesephoto Illustration By Bráulio Amado, New York Times, "We All Live in Don DeLillo’s World. He’s Confused by It Too.," 11 Oct. 2020 Some waxes are better during specific weather conditions than others. Anthony Marcusa, chicagotribune.com, "The best ski and snowboard wax," 10 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb An opportunity to better yourself or improve your health and happiness could arrive in March. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Oct. 12, 2020: Happy birthday Kate Walsh; Capricorn, recheck details," 13 Oct. 2020 So be humble, apologize and try to better yourself. Abby Hamblin, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Get to know DJ Gaines, a San Diego physician and podcaster on diversity, equity and inclusion in medicine," 6 Oct. 2020 Measures like mask-wearing and social distancing are meant to better the odds by getting fewer people sick and protecting the most vulnerable. Fortune, "Trump’s COVID diagnosis will impact how Americans view their pandemic risk," 3 Oct. 2020 As the sons of gentry, most of these Virginians had access to schools and colleges steeped in Enlightenment thinking, where they were exposed to ideas about science, ethics and politics that could be used to better the world. Emily Bobrow, WSJ, "Lynne Cheney’s Journey to the Founding Era," 25 Sep. 2020 Following Wednesday's vote, spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said Schlissel had already promised to work to better his relationship with faculty. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "U-M faculty now says it approved no-confidence vote against President Mark Schlissel," 18 Sep. 2020 The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society helps fund blood cancer research and works to better the quality of life for patients and their families. Alvaro Montano, Houston Chronicle, "Northwest Houston charities benefiting from ‘Fall Giving Drive’ initiative for new homebuyers," 15 Sep. 2020 Every time Sirad texted or called him, Bryant was doing something productive to better himself. Giana Han, al, "Big Kat Bryant’s outgrown ‘Kitty Kat’ nickname, truly the ‘Big Kat’ on the field," 27 Aug. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Jonathan Kusel founded the nonprofit research organization Sierra Institute for Community and Environment in 1993 in an effort to better understand how state and federal agencies could put leftover organic material to use. NBC News, "Decades of mismanagement led to choked forests — now it's time to clear them out, fire experts say," 18 Oct. 2020 Of course Carrey’s Biden eventually became Mister Rogers (and, better still, calm-yourself painter Bob Ross, the rare instance of riffing on events in a new and different way). Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, "How the 'SNL' cold open took on the dueling town halls, but went way too easy on NBC," 18 Oct. 2020 But in Wave Two, Trump fell far behind, and the sector did even better, waxing by 22%. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Stocks in ‘election-sensitive’ sectors seem oblivious to which candidate wins. Why?," 18 Oct. 2020 The trend signals a possible area of concern as scientists struggle to better understand how the virus affects the human body and the best ways of defeating it. Amber Randall, sun-sentinel.com, "Bad habits during the pandemic may be leading to dangerous weight gain in children," 16 Oct. 2020 To better understand the region’s climatic history, Xi’an Jiaotong University geochemist Hai Cheng and graduate student Hangling Li turned to the caves of Rodrigues—a small, remote island 1600 kilometers east of Madagascar. Elizabeth Pennisi, Science | AAAS, "Double whammy doomed Madagascar’s giant birds and mammals," 16 Oct. 2020 Such models of 'excess mortality' are commonly used by public health officials to better understand disease outbreaks and the effectiveness of counter-measures. Frank Jordans, Star Tribune, "Study: Health systems, govt responses linked to virus tolls," 14 Oct. 2020 With such poor sampling, experts say, these states have essentially no ability to use sequencing to aid in contact tracing, or to better understand the origins and development of their respective outbreaks. Anchorage Daily News, "Scientists use virus’s genetic code in attempt to control it," 14 Oct. 2020 From July 2020 to October 2020, Alicia Carter and Haley France traveled across the United States to better understand the history of the United States Postal Service (USPS) and its impact on rural communities. Sarah Smarsh, National Geographic, "America’s postal service is a rural lifeline—and it’s in jeopardy," 9 Oct. 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 An opportunity to better yourself or improve your health and happiness could arrive in March. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, "Horoscope for Oct. 12, 2020: Happy birthday Kate Walsh; Capricorn, recheck details," 13 Oct. 2020 So be humble, apologize and try to better yourself. Abby Hamblin, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Get to know DJ Gaines, a San Diego physician and podcaster on diversity, equity and inclusion in medicine," 6 Oct. 2020 Measures like mask-wearing and social distancing are meant to better the odds by getting fewer people sick and protecting the most vulnerable. Fortune, "Trump’s COVID diagnosis will impact how Americans view their pandemic risk," 3 Oct. 2020 As the sons of gentry, most of these Virginians had access to schools and colleges steeped in Enlightenment thinking, where they were exposed to ideas about science, ethics and politics that could be used to better the world. Emily Bobrow, WSJ, "Lynne Cheney’s Journey to the Founding Era," 25 Sep. 2020 Following Wednesday's vote, spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said Schlissel had already promised to work to better his relationship with faculty. David Jesse, Detroit Free Press, "U-M faculty now says it approved no-confidence vote against President Mark Schlissel," 18 Sep. 2020 The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society helps fund blood cancer research and works to better the quality of life for patients and their families. Alvaro Montano, Houston Chronicle, "Northwest Houston charities benefiting from ‘Fall Giving Drive’ initiative for new homebuyers," 15 Sep. 2020 Every time Sirad texted or called him, Bryant was doing something productive to better himself. Giana Han, al, "Big Kat Bryant’s outgrown ‘Kitty Kat’ nickname, truly the ‘Big Kat’ on the field," 27 Aug. 2020 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

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

19 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Better.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/better. Accessed 24 Oct. 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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Comments on better

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