better off Unabridged


1 [bet-er]
adjective compar. of good with best as superl.
of superior quality or excellence: a better coat; a better speech.
morally superior; more virtuous: They are no better than thieves.
of superior suitability, advisability, desirability, acceptableness, etc.; preferable: a better time for action.
larger; greater: the better part of a lifetime.
improved in health; healthier than before.
completely recovered in health.
adverb compar. of well with best as superl.
in a more appropriate or acceptable way or manner: to behave better.
to a greater degree; more completely or thoroughly: He knows the way better than we do. I probably know him better than anyone else.
more: I walked better than a mile to town.
verb (used with object)
to increase the good qualities of; make better; improve: to better the lot of the suburban commuter.
to improve upon; surpass; exceed: We have bettered last year's production record.
Cards. to raise (a previous bid).
that which has greater excellence or is preferable or wiser: the better of two choices.
Usually, betters. those superior to one in wisdom, wealth, etc.
better off,
in better circumstances.
more fortunate; happier: Because of his asthma, he would be better off in a different climate.
better oneself, to improve one's social standing, financial position, or education: He is going to night school because he wants to better himself.
for the better, in a way that is an improvement: His health changed for the better.
get/have the better of,
to get an advantage over.
to prevail against.
go (someone) one better, to exceed the effort of; be superior to: The neighbors went us one better by buying two new cars.
had better, would be wiser or more well-advised to; ought to: We had better stay indoors today.
no better than one should be, Disparaging. morally inferior; immoral or amoral.
think better of,
to reconsider and decide more favorably or wisely regarding: I was tempted to make a sarcastic retort, but thought better of it.
to form a higher opinion of.

before 900; Middle English bettre, Old English bet(t)(e)ra; cognate with Old High German bezziro (German besser), Dutch beter, Old Norse betr, Gothic batiza, equivalent to bat- (cognate with Old High German baz (adv.) better; akin to boot2) + -iza comparative suffix; suggested relation to Sanskrit bhadrá- “fortunate” is doubtful. See best

unbettered, adjective

10. amend; advance, promote; reform, correct, rectify. See improve. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
better1 (ˈbɛtə)
1.  the comparative of good
2.  more excellent than other members of a particular group, category, etc
3.  more suitable, advantageous, attractive, etc
4.  improved in health
5.  fully recovered in health
6.  in more favourable circumstances, esp financially
7.  better off in more favourable circumstances, esp financially
8.  the better part of a large part of: the better part of a day
9.  the comparative of well
10.  in a more excellent manner; more advantageously, attractively, etc
11.  in or to a greater degree or extent; more: she is better loved than her sister
12.  (Brit intr; US tr) go one better to outdo (a person) or improve upon (someone else's effort)
13.  had better would be wise, sensible, etc to: I had better be off
14.  know better than to not to be so stupid as to
15.  think better of
 a.  to change one's course of action after reconsideration
 b.  to rate (a person) more highly
16.  the better something that is the more excellent, useful, etc, of two such things
17.  (usually plural) a person who is superior, esp in social standing or ability
18.  all the better for improved as a result of
19.  all the better to more suitable to
20.  for better for worse whatever the subsequent events or changes may be
21.  for the better by way of improvement: a change for the better
22.  get the better of to defeat, outwit, or surpass
23.  (Irish) the better of having recovered from: I'm not the better of it yet
24.  to make or become better
25.  (tr) to improve upon; surpass
[Old English betera; related to Old Norse betri, Gothic batiza, Old High German beziro]

better or esp (US) bettor2 (ˈbɛtə)
a person who bets
bettor or esp (US) bettor2

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

O.E. betera (see best), from P.Gmc. *batizo-, from PIE *bhad- "good." Comparative adj. of good in the older Gmc. languages (cf. O.N. betr, Dan. bedre, Ger. besser, Goth. batiza). Superseded bet in the adverbial sense by 1600. Better half "wife" is
first attested 1570s; to get the better of (someone) is from mid-15c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

better off

In a more favorable position or financial circumstances. For example, They were better off flying than driving there, or They were better off than most of their neighbors. This phrase is the comparative form of well off. [Mid-1800s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Idioms & Phrases
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