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


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



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



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


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 Run line: Get better value on Boston at a ripe +115 to cover the -1.5 runs and win by two or more behind the strength of a much better offense. Esten Mclaren, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Boston Red Sox at Toronto Blue Jays odds, picks and betting tips," 11 Sep. 2019 Sure, the Astros, Yankees, Indians and maybe even the struggling-but-still-able defending champion Boston Red Sox — all better teams with better pitching on paper — await in the playoffs. Rubén Rosario, Twin Cities, "Rosario: On mental illness, dissing prosecutors and some bandwagon Twins fans …," 17 Aug. 2019 Guzmán became convinced that Mao’s vision of peasant revolt better fit Peruvian social conditions than would an urban avant-garde. Rachel Nolan, Harper's magazine, "A Jagged Scrap of History," 24 June 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Alex Meret brilliantly tipped away a Salah shot, though that save was arguably bettered by one from Adrian, who somehow clawed the ball away from his goal to deny Mertens. Matias Grez, CNN, "Liverpool stunned by Napoli late goals in the Champions League," 17 Sep. 2019 Everton have kept the second-highest number of clean sheets since the turn of the year, bettered only by Manchester City, but their recent rearguard displays make for grim viewing., "Everton's Vitality Stadium Curse Continues After Dismal Defensive Display at Bournemouth," 15 Sep. 2019 The goal helped Minnesota to a 1-0 win over the Rapids at Allianz Field, giving the Loons their 12th win this season, bettering 11 wins from 2018 and 10 from 2017. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Minnesota United sets another club record in 1-0 victory over Colorado," 14 Aug. 2019 Dillon’s mother, Jessyca Gatewood-Campbell, worked as many as five jobs, teaching, waitressing, studying for her master’s degree, to better herself and keep things together in New London. Dom Amore,, "Dom Amore: New London’s AJ Dillon primed to resume football stardom at Boston College," 12 Aug. 2019 The singer is back in the limelight and working on bettering herself. Kelsey Stiegman, Seventeen, "Demi Lovato Posts Unedited Bikini Photo Flaunting Her Cellulite," 6 Sep. 2019 The goal is for Centrowitz, Kincaid and Lomong to better the 2020 Olympic standard of 13 minutes, 13.50 seconds. oregonlive, "Matthew Centrowitz, Lopez Lomong, Woody Kincaid aim for the Olympic 5k standard Tuesday at Nike," 6 Sep. 2019 Overall, this adaptation enables larvae to better shield themselves from avian predators. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "These Caterpillars Can Detect Color Using Their Skin Not Their Eyes," 27 Aug. 2019 And Vela is averaging a goal a game, which would better Martinez’s record by three. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, "Soccer! Galaxy, LAFC could have major transfer news soon," 30 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Yet these examples always seem to work better in the imagination than in reality. Washington Post, "The Jack Bauers of Europe Love Facial Recognition," 18 Sep. 2019 No coach in school history did better in their first three years than Friedgen, and only two, Jim Tatum and Jerry Claiborne, had a higher winning percentage over any three-year period than Friedgen’s first three seasons (.795). Don Markus,, "Former Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen returning as honorary captain for game against No. 13 Penn State," 17 Sep. 2019 Duvall knew the Farm Museum better than anyone, according to his wife, Linda. Akira Kyles,, "Maryland Wine Festival returning to usual spot on calendar with new offerings, but missing ‘Mr. Wine Festival’," 16 Sep. 2019 One by one, the most prominent members of the New York-based collective took the stage — Ghostface Killah, Raekwon, Method Man, GZA, Inspectah Deck, U-God — some of their mics working better than others, but never all of them at the same time. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: Snoop vs. Wu-Tang at KAABOO 2019: What could have been," 14 Sep. 2019 Unsurprisingly, the ones that have been around the longest seem better at it than the newcomers. Bran Ferren, Quartz, "Geodesign is going to change the design world as we know it," 13 Sep. 2019 That said, some companies and sectors may fare better than others for the foreseeable future. Paul R. La Monica, CNN, "The bull market just won't die," 11 Sep. 2019 Sanchez is a fly-ball pitcher; Minnesota hits FB types better than any other MLB team (.880 OPS) and leads the league in home runs. Skip Snow, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Washington Nationals at Minnesota Twins odds, picks and betting tips," 10 Sep. 2019 Generally speaking, Minnesota is poised to weather recessions better than some states, experts say, because its economy isn’t overly reliant on any one industry. Greta Kaul, Twin Cities, "Minnesota less vulnerable to recession than some states," 7 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Even the sharp betters were betting on New England. Dave Hyde,, "Hyde: Here’s why the Dolphins have become Vegas’ least-favorite team | Commentary," 19 Oct. 2019 For betters that enjoy following the trends, though, his odds may be better than that. J.l. Kirven, Detroit Free Press, "What are the odds? Detroit Lions' Matthew Stafford's MVP chances aren't that good," 18 July 2019 Meanwhile, pet ownership in general reduces stress, betters our self-esteem and makes us more social. Leah Asmelash, CNN, "Dogs help the people who own them maintain a healthier heart, a study finds," 23 Aug. 2019 Like the revolutionaries of 1789, those in the contemporary French third estate (the commoners) have been stirred by the hypocrisy of their betters. Joel Kotkin, National Review, "The Return to Serfdom," 25 July 2019 As of Monday, betters can wager on 28 on the sport's most prestigious rivalries. J.l. Kirven, Detroit Free Press, "College football head-to-head spreads: Michigan favored by 2½ wins vs. MSU," 22 July 2019 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb The second-year receiver posted the second-most receiving yards through the first 20 games of his career in Broncos history with 1,013, a mark only bettered by Eddie Royal. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "Broncos Scouting Report: How Denver matches up against the Chargers and predictions," 5 Oct. 2019 Alex Meret brilliantly tipped away a Salah shot, though that save was arguably bettered by one from Adrian, who somehow clawed the ball away from his goal to deny Mertens. Matias Grez, CNN, "Liverpool stunned by Napoli late goals in the Champions League," 17 Sep. 2019 Here’s betting his misery leads to better production from the offense. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan State football vs. Western Michigan predictions: Spartans' offense wakes up," 3 Sep. 2019 Overall, this adaptation enables larvae to better shield themselves from avian predators. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian, "These Caterpillars Can Detect Color Using Their Skin Not Their Eyes," 27 Aug. 2019 Google’s Doodle has celebrated loads of less-than-famous people whose inventions have changed and bettered the world. Chris Morris, Fortune, "Google Doodle Celebrates Ignacio Anaya García, the Man Who Invented Nachos," 15 Aug. 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 Thoroughly checking credentials when hiring a professional remodeler will better ensure that your home remodeling project will be completed successfully. Stacy Argo |, Houston Chronicle, "GHBA Remodelers Council: Credentials and why they matter," 7 Sep. 2019 The eco-minded Prince Harry announces a massive travel sustainability initiative in partnership with key service providers that’s aimed at bettering the practices of the global industry amid an ever-increasing number of travelers. Washington Post, "Prince Harry announces massive travel sustainability project," 5 Sep. 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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1


12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


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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More Definitions for better


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.



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)



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



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

: something that is better : better behavior


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.


bettered; bettering

Kids Definition of better (Entry 2 of 4)

: to make or become more satisfactory They are trying to better their performance.



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.



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with better

Spanish Central: Translation of better

Nglish: Translation of better for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of better for Arabic Speakers

Comments on better

What made you want to look up better? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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