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[uh-meel-yuh-reyt, uh-mee-lee-uh-] /əˈmil yəˌreɪt, əˈmi li ə-/
verb (used with object), verb (used 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 ameliorative
Historical Examples
  • Continuity of ameliorative effort is the sole enthusiasm that can serve the cause of improvement.

    A Logic Of Facts George Jacob Holyoake
  • We may hazard a guess that most of the programme of ameliorative measures was the work of Engels, and perhaps the final section.

    Socialism John Spargo
  • No ameliorative, no palliative, no restrictive, no remedial measure will avail.

  • He talked in a straightforward way with his villagers, reduced a number of rents and spent money freely in ameliorative work.

    The Foundations of Japan J.W. Robertson Scott
  • A new Irish mind has now to be taken into account, and to be made part of any ameliorative Irish policy.

    Ireland In The New Century Horace Plunkett
  • There is among them a fine lite which responds to the appeal of the ideal and is found in every kind of ameliorative work.

    The Old World in the New Edward Alsworth Ross
British Dictionary definitions for ameliorative


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 ameliorative

1796, from ameliorate + -ive.



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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