[uh-meel-yuh-reyt, uh-mee-lee-uh-]

verb (used with or without object), a·mel·io·rat·ed, a·mel·io·rat·ing.

to make or become better, more bearable, or more satisfactory; improve: strategies to ameliorate negative effects on the environment.

Also meliorate.

Origin of ameliorate

First recorded in 1760–70; a-5 + meliorate
Related formsa·mel·io·ra·ble, adjectivea·mel·io·ra·ble·ness, nouna·mel·io·rant, nouna·mel·io·ra·tive, a·mel·io·ra·to·ry [uh-meel-yer-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, uh-mee-lee-uh-] /əˈmil yər əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i, əˈmi li ə-/, adjectivea·mel·io·ra·tor, nounun·a·mel·io·ra·ble, adjectiveun·a·mel·io·rat·ed, adjectiveun·a·mel·io·ra·tive, adjective
Can be confusedameliorate obviate vitiate

Synonyms for ameliorate

Antonyms for ameliorate Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ameliorate

Contemporary Examples of ameliorate

Historical Examples of ameliorate

  • Our chief desire is to ameliorate the condition of the malgamite workers.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • He laboured to ameliorate the condition of the native Indians in the American colonies.


    Samuel Smiles

  • Do you pretend that it is impossible to ameliorate the lot of the people?


    Rafael Sabatini

  • And why do men go soldiering except to ameliorate existence?

  • And the Church never, never raised a finger to ameliorate their condition.

British Dictionary definitions for ameliorate



to make or become better; improve
Derived Formsameliorable (əˈmiːljərəbəl), adjectiveameliorant, nounameliorative, adjectiveameliorator, noun

Word Origin for ameliorate

C18: from meliorate, influenced by French améliorer to improve, from Old French ameillorer to make better, from meillor better, from Latin melior


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
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

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