im·​prove im-ˈprüv How to pronounce improve (audio)
improved; improving

transitive verb

: to enhance in value or quality : make better
: to increase the value of (land or property) by making it more useful for humans (as by cultivation or the erection of buildings)
: to grade and drain (a road) and apply surfacing material other than pavement
: to use to good purpose
archaic : employ, use

intransitive verb

: to advance or make progress in what is desirable
: to make useful additions or amendments
improvable adjective
improver noun
Choose the Right Synonym for improve

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 improve in a Sentence

This operation will greatly improve her chances of survival. The advertising campaign has improved sales. Maybe we'll buy a house when our financial situation improves. Her writing has improved since the beginning of the school year. The company has been having steadily improving sales.
Recent Examples on the Web Pekoske told The Associated Press that pay raises for front-line screeners have helped improve staffing by reducing attrition from more than 20% to less than 10%. David Koenig, Fortune, 23 May 2024 District officials have acknowledged those worries, saying work is progressing to build trust with current employees, improve retention and recruit new hires for open positions. Bill Lukitsch, Kansas City Star, 23 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for improve 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'improve.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English improuen, emprouen, from Anglo-French emprouer to make profit from, from French en- + pru, prou advantage, from Late Latin prode — more at proud

First Known Use

1509, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of improve was in 1509

Dictionary Entries Near improve

Cite this Entry

“Improve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


im·​prove im-ˈprüv How to pronounce improve (audio)
improved; improving
: to make or become better
genetics helps us improve plants
when economic conditions improve
: to increase the value of (land or property) by making improvements
: to make good use of
improved their time by studying German
: to make useful additions or changes
improvable adjective
improver noun

More from Merriam-Webster on improve

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!