im·prove | \im-ˈprüv \
improved; improving

Definition of improve 

transitive verb

1 archaic : employ, use

2a : 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

3 : to use to good purpose

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 \ noun
improvable \(ˌ)im-ˈprü-və-bəl \ adjective
improver noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for improve


ameliorate, amend, better, enhance, enrich, help, meliorate, perfect, refine, upgrade



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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web

That could provide an opportunity for Wynns, 27, to improve his standing in the organization. Peter Schmuck,, "Catcher Austin Wynns gets a second chance to make a good first impression on Orioles," 14 July 2018 West Ham boss Manuel Pellegrini has been impressed with Antonio at the club's training camp in Switzerland recently, as the former England international worked alone to improve his fitness during the trip., "Lazio Star Felipe Anderson Undergoing West Ham Medical as Club Record Move Edges Closer," 13 July 2018 If voters approve Proposition 3 in November, the state would borrow $8.9 billion for various water projects, including $750 million to improve conservation and groundwater-recharge efforts in the Friant area. Dale Kasler And Phillip Reese, sacbee, "The Valley floor is sinking, and it’s crippling California’s ability to deliver water," 13 July 2018 Milliner, who grew up in Hoffman Estates, joked that show profits would to go improving the mall’s traffic flow. Tracy Swartz,, "'Will & Grace' star, producing partner dish on CNN series, Woodfield Mall memories," 12 July 2018 The center is also partnering with Raytheon to make flexible antennas that can fit inside helmets, to improve communication, for example, or even to detect concussions. Allison Hagan,, "UMass Lowell fabric center aims to make smarter clothes," 12 July 2018 China and Thailand took 20 years to improve electrification rates from about 30-40% to 85-90%. The Economist, "Mini-grids may be the best way to illuminate the “bottom billion”," 12 July 2018 As a progressive, Serrano has introduced bills to improve public housing and recently joined the call to abolish Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. Meagan Fredette, Teen Vogue, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Won New York's 15th District Reform Party Primary Even Though She Wasn't Running," 11 July 2018 His audit offered 117 recommendations for the PPA to improve its operations. Jason Laughlin,, "Philly's controller to audit PPA's parking enforcement," 11 July 2018

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 2a

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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Phrases Related to improve

improve on/upon

Statistics for improve

Last Updated

2 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for improve

The first known use of improve was in 1509

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More Definitions for improve



English Language Learners Definition of improve

: to make (something) better

: to become better


im·prove | \im-ˈprüv \
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

Comments on improve

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


evasion of direct action or statement

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