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[uh-meel-yuh-reyt, uh-mee-lee-uh-] /əˈmil yəˌreɪt, əˈmi li ə-/
verb (used with or without object), ameliorated, ameliorating.
to make or become better, more bearable, or more satisfactory; improve:
strategies to ameliorate negative effects on the environment.
Also, meliorate.
Origin of ameliorate
1760-70; a-5 + meliorate
Related forms
ameliorable, adjective
ameliorableness, noun
ameliorant, noun
ameliorative, amelioratory
[uh-meel-yer-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, uh-mee-lee-uh-] /əˈmil yər əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i, əˈmi li ə-/ (Show IPA),
ameliorator, noun
unameliorable, adjective
unameliorated, adjective
unameliorative, adjective
Can be confused
ameliorate, obviate, vitiate.
amend, better. See improve.
worsen. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for ameliorate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He accosted me as one might expect a gentleman would, and asked me if there was anything he could do to ameliorate my condition?

  • It was at the pond hole that the major's luck began to ameliorate.

    IT and Other Stories Gouverneur Morris
  • Still the King managed to retain his popularity, and in his own way attempted to ameliorate the lot of his subjects.

    Napoleon's Marshals R. P. Dunn-Pattison
  • His popularity with them he owes to his efforts to ameliorate their condition.

    Edmond Dants Edmund Flagg
  • Finally Logan said that his purpose in going to France was to ameliorate the condition of our relations with that country.

    George Washington, Vol. II Henry Cabot Lodge
British Dictionary definitions for ameliorate


to make or become better; improve
Derived Forms
ameliorable (əˈmiːljərəbəl) adjective
ameliorant, noun
ameliorative, adjective
ameliorator, noun
Usage note
Ameliorate is often wrongly used where alleviate is meant. Ameliorate is properly used to mean `improve', not `make easier to bear', so one should talk about alleviating pain or hardship, not ameliorating it
Word Origin
C18: from meliorate, influenced by French améliorer to improve, from Old French ameillorer to make better, from meillor better, from Latin melior
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ameliorate

1728, perhaps a back-formation from amelioration on pattern of French améliorer. The simpler form meliorate was used in Middle English. Related: Ameliorated; ameliorating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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