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


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

Although the industry posted its seventh straight year of improved US sales in 2016, an industry record, the increase was only 0.4%. Chris Isidore, CNN, "The GM strike was inevitable. How it will end isn't so clear," 17 Sep. 2019 The report is expected to include about a dozen recommendations, with a focus on improving transparency in the certification process. David Gelles, New York Times, "Boeing Board to Call for Safety Changes After 737 Max Crashes," 15 Sep. 2019 Unai Emery has beaten Sanchez Flores once in the seven times their teams have clashed and hopes to improve that record against his Spanish compatriot in the London derby. Si Wire,, "Watford vs. Arsenal Live Stream, TV Channel: Watch Premier League Online," 15 Sep. 2019 South, a 19-point underdog, will try to win its second straight and improve to 2-1 in Saturday's 2:30 p.m. kickoff at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Charles Hollis, al, "South Carolina a chance for Alabama to tune up for real SEC race," 13 Sep. 2019 The findings could also help improve safety in places like oil refineries where even a spark can cause a catastrophic explosion. Alex Fox, Science | AAAS, "The secret of static electricity? It’s shocking," 12 Sep. 2019 Nick Rimando made three saves as Real Salt Lake (14-11-4, 46 points) improved to 9-1-1 in its past 11 home matches to salvage a split of the season series. Field Level Media, The Mercury News, "San Jose Earthquakes blanked at Real Salt Lake in key MLS match," 11 Sep. 2019 Around the country, insurance coverage worsened in eight states and improved in three states. Amy Goldstein, Anchorage Daily News, "Share of Americans without health insurance increases, Census Bureau reports," 10 Sep. 2019 Kingwood Park remains undefeated in district Kingwood Park improved to 3-0 in District 20-5A play. Marcus Gutierrez, Houston Chronicle, "Sports notebook: Humble ISD football, volleyball roundups," 10 Sep. 2019

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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Statistics for improve

Last Updated

16 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

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 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

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).


to fake an opponent out of position

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