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

Definition of improve

transitive verb

1a : to enhance in value or quality : make better
b : to increase the value of (land or property) by making it more useful for humans (as by cultivation or the erection of buildings)
c : to grade and drain (a road) and apply surfacing material other than pavement
2 : to use to good purpose
3 archaic : employ, use

intransitive verb

1 : to advance or make progress in what is desirable
2 : to make useful additions or amendments

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Other Words from improve

improvability \ (ˌ)im-​ˌprü-​və-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē How to pronounce improvability (audio) \ noun
improvable \ (ˌ)im-​ˈprü-​və-​bəl How to pronounce improvable (audio) \ adjective
improver noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for improve



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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web As the economy improved and city income taxes increased, the city was able to use extra revenues on one-time expenses in 2019 on top of what was already budgeted. Robert Higgs, cleveland, "Growing economy, income tax revenues fueling Cleveland’s budget, allowing city to plan ahead, Mayor Frank Jackson says," 1 Feb. 2020 Geneva is not the first city to overhaul its signage in an effort to improve representation. Sarah Todd, Quartz, "Geneva is putting women on half its pedestrian crossing signs," 31 Jan. 2020 The Raiders, who improved to 19-4 and 9-1 in the Horizon League, shot just 39.3% from the field and made only 2 three-pointers. Todd Rosiak, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wright State 65, UW-Milwaukee 61: Rousing defensive effort not enough to save Panthers at the end," 31 Jan. 2020 But Glenn said there is still value in investing in vaccine development early on during outbreaks, especially as technologies improve and scientists are able to be more agile with this type of research. NBC News, "As coronavirus spreads, researchers race to develop a vaccine," 29 Jan. 2020 Baker 54, Blount 50: Christian Bedgood hit five 3-pointers and finished with 19 points as the Hornets improved to 17-7. Ben Thomas |, al, "Coastal Boys Roundup: Jordan Bell, No. 4 Williamson edge No. 2 UMS-Wright," 29 Jan. 2020 In the meantime, Sager said the students plan to stay at a hotel for the next two nights and have flights booked for Tuesday, as long as the weather improves. Tess Williams, Anchorage Daily News, "Southeast Alaska town cut off by bad weather and a broken down ferry — leaving its high school basketball teams stranded," 27 Jan. 2020 In the past 20 years, as observation networks have improved, scientists have learned more about these important weather phenomena. Tom Corringham, The Conversation, "Atmospheric river storms can drive costly flooding – and climate change is making them stronger," 27 Jan. 2020 Cinco Ranch defeated Seven Lakes 50-44 to improve to 5-3 and maintain third place. Jack Marrion, Houston Chronicle, "Morton Ranch boys basketball leads competitive 19-6A," 27 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'improve.' 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 improve

1509, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for improve

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

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Time Traveler for improve

Time Traveler

The first known use of improve was in 1509

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Statistics for improve

Last Updated

6 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Improve.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for improve


How to pronounce improve (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of improve

: to make (something) better
: to become better


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

Kids Definition of improve

: to make or become better Her writing has greatly improved.

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More from Merriam-Webster on improve

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for improve

Spanish Central: Translation of improve

Nglish: Translation of improve for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of improve for Arabic Speakers

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