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

Example Sentences

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 Compared with its gasoline counterparts, the Electrified GV70 has a stiffer structure and additional sound deadening, both of which improve on what was an already serene cabin environment. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, 21 Mar. 2023 With a simple and easy-to-use interface, the app strives to improve nutrition goals with realistic and sustainable nutrition habits. Good Housekeeping, 21 Mar. 2023 Those experiences could help with Meta’s broader 2023 goal to improve retention, Shah said in the internal presentation. Jay Peters, The Verge, 21 Mar. 2023 Central banks say that by using swap lines to improve cash flow and mitigate stress in global markets, potential squeezes on the supply of credit to households and businesses can be minimized. Chloe Taylor, Fortune, 20 Mar. 2023 Leaders have the power to improve the lives of women who work for them and women in tech everywhere. Meredith Graham, Quartz, 20 Mar. 2023 Whether the motivation is money, optics, or the realization that people of all shades want to improve their skin (or a combo of all three), the industry has made significant progress. Baze Mpinja, Allure, 20 Mar. 2023 Melting snowpack throughout the spring is expected to further improve the dry conditions. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 20 Mar. 2023 In some cases, scientists may be able to improve the gene pool in one population by capturing and introducing animals from another. Gene Johnson, Anchorage Daily News, 20 Mar. 2023 See More

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.

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 26 Mar. 2023.

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
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