[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 ameliorative

Historical Examples of ameliorative

  • Continuity of ameliorative effort is the sole enthusiasm that can serve the cause of improvement.

    A Logic Of Facts

    George Jacob Holyoake

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

  • A new Irish mind has now to be taken into account, and to be made part of any ameliorative Irish policy.

  • 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

  • We may hazard a guess that most of the programme of ameliorative measures was the work of Engels, and perhaps the final section.


    John Spargo

British Dictionary definitions for ameliorative



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 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