By Deane Barker

Definition: to make better

From the French “améliorer” which means “improve.”

It seems very similar to “alleviate,” but I read one definition that implied “alleviate” means to reduce suffering, where “ameliorate” means to “make better.” That’s a subtle difference, and I really haven’t seen that reflected in usage (see the example below, for instance).

Why I Looked It Up

In a discussion of the Supreme Court case Adkins vs. Children’s Hospital:

Progressive sought to ameliorate the consequences of industrialization by enacting minimum wage laws.

Regarding the usage note above, you could easily swap “alleviate” in here, and get the same meaning.

This is item #26 in a sequence of 696 items.

You can use your left/right arrow keys to navigate