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

more

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

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

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 So Chris Paul, for this guy who's really done a nice job over the last five or six years consolidating power on and off the court trying to better his own chances at furthering his legacy, winning a title, competing at the highest level. Andrew Sharp And Ben Golliver, SI.com, "Would a Chris Paul Trade Work for the Wolves? | Open Floor Podcast," 18 July 2019 All eyes will be on the offense to improve as the Spartans try to better its 7-6 finish from a year ago. Cincinnati.com, "Big Ten notebook: Ohio State, Michigan State tops on preseason team," 18 July 2019 Students learn early in life the importance of committing the time, talents and resources to better the lives of the less fortunate, to make life better for the greater community, to give of themselves for a cause greater than themselves. Hermine Saunders, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Saunders: Plenty of time to make our age number valuable and our lives meaningful," 9 Aug. 2019 India grieves the demise of a remarkable leader who devoted her life to public service and bettering lives of the poor. Sugam Pokharel, CNN, "Sushma Swaraj, India's former foreign minister, dies at 67," 6 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Meanwhile, at the Sunset Cliffs Stage, the sound was often better the farther back one stood and more muddled closer to the stage. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Analysis: KAABOO takes final Del Mar bow: Was the festival rushing too fast to its new home at Petco Park?," 17 Sep. 2019 Their pitching has been much better lately, allowing an average of 3.3 runs per game over their last 10. Matt Martell, SI.com, "NL Wild-Card Reset: Can the Mets Pull Off a Minor Miracle?," 16 Sep. 2019 Another divisive work that landed better with me was Uncut Gems, the new film from the Safdie Brothers, whose oeuvre includes symphonies of anxiety such as Heaven Knows What and Good Time. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Jojo Rabbit, Joker, and 5 More Movies to Look For This Fall," 16 Sep. 2019 An Indianapolis defense that gave up 6.0 yards per carry has to be better against Derrick Henry and the Tennessee running game. Joel A. Erickson, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: 13 things to watch in Colts vs. Titans game," 14 Sep. 2019 To make the best applesauce recipe even better, a good rule of thumb is to choose a mix of two or three varieties. Catherine Lo, Good Housekeeping, "How to Pick the Best Apples for Applesauce," 12 Sep. 2019 Contrary to the Sambourne picture, evolution is better represented as a process producing continuous branching and divergence of populations of organisms. Quentin Wheeler, Quartz, "That popular monkey-to-man chart gets evolution all wrong," 4 Sep. 2019 The team found that the voles were better able to detect the owls, regardless of color, under full moon conditions. Brigit Katz, Smithsonian, "Moonlight Helps White Barn Owls Stun Their Prey," 4 Sep. 2019 One of the challenges of tracking this sort of thing is that every class will have a different range of talents, and some instructors will simply have been better at teaching. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "College students think they learn less with an effective teaching method," 4 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb

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 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 Pouring your energy into bettering yourself and going out there as well, as helping to win games. Mary Kay Cabot, cleveland.com, "Quarterback Drew Stanton and Browns agree on 2-year deal," 25 Nov. 2017 All eyes will be on the offense to improve as the Spartans try to better its 7-6 finish from a year ago. Cincinnati.com, "Big Ten notebook: Ohio State, Michigan State tops on preseason team," 18 July 2019 So Chris Paul, for this guy who's really done a nice job over the last five or six years consolidating power on and off the court trying to better his own chances at furthering his legacy, winning a title, competing at the highest level. Andrew Sharp And Ben Golliver, SI.com, "Would a Chris Paul Trade Work for the Wolves? | Open Floor Podcast," 18 July 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 Her two-night total of 118.5 points, including a Sunday performance that bettered her Friday score by 1.2 points, led first-year senior competitor Sunisa Lee of St. Paul, Minn., by 4.95 points. David Barron, Houston Chronicle, "Simone Biles wins record 6th all-around title," 11 Aug. 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

Last Updated

14 Sep 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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