- 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.
- 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.
- to increase the good qualities of; make better; improve: to better one's grades; 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, morally inferior; immoral or amoral: Don't speak to him; he's no better than he should be!
- 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: I think better of him now that he's gone back to college.
Origin of better1
Synonyms for betterSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Origin of better2
- morally excellent; virtuous; righteous; pious: a good man.
- satisfactory in quality, quantity, or degree: a good teacher; good health.
- of high quality; excellent.
- right; proper; fit: It is good that you are here. His credentials are good.
- well-behaved: a good child.
- kind, beneficent, or friendly: to do a good deed.
- honorable or worthy; in good standing: a good name.
- educated and refined: She has a good background.
- financially sound or safe: His credit is good.
- genuine; not counterfeit: a good quarter.
- sound or valid: good judgment; good reasons.
- reliable; dependable; responsible: good advice.
- healthful; beneficial: Fresh fruit is good for you.
- in excellent condition; healthy: good teeth.
- not spoiled or tainted; edible; palatable: The meat was still good after three months in the freezer.
- favorable; propitious: good news.
- cheerful; optimistic; amiable: in good spirits.
- free of distress or pain; comfortable: to feel good after surgery.
- agreeable; pleasant: Have a good time.
- attractive; handsome: She has a good figure.
- (of the complexion) smooth; free from blemish.
- close or intimate; warm: She's a good friend of mine.
- sufficient or ample: a good supply.
- advantageous; satisfactory for the purpose: a good day for fishing.
- competent or skillful; clever: a good manager; good at arithmetic.
- skillfully or expertly done: a really good job; a good play.
- conforming to rules of grammar, usage, etc.; correct: good English.
- socially proper: good manners.
- remaining available to one: Don't throw good money after bad.
- comparatively new or of relatively fine quality: Don't play in the mud in your good clothes.
- finest or most dressy: He wore his good suit to the office today.
- full: a good day's journey away.
- fairly large or great: a good amount.
- free from precipitation or cloudiness: good weather.
- Medicine/Medical. (of a patient's condition) having stable and normal vital signs, being conscious and comfortable, and having excellent appetite, mobility, etc.
- fertile; rich: good soil.
- loyal: a good Democrat.
- (of a return or service in tennis, squash, handball, etc.) landing within the limits of a court or section of a court.
- Informal. (used when declining an offer or suggestion, as to communicate that one is already satisfied): "More coffee?" "No thanks, I’m good!"
- Horse Racing. (of the surface of a track) drying after a rain so as to be still slightly sticky: This horse runs best on a good track.
- (of meat, especially beef) noting or pertaining to the specific grade below “choice,” containing more lean muscle and less edible fat than “prime” or “choice.”
- favorably regarded (used as an epithet for a ship, town, etc.): the good ship Syrena.
- profit or advantage; worth; benefit: What good will that do? We shall work for the common good.
- excellence or merit; kindness: to do good.
- moral righteousness; virtue: to be a power for good.
- (especially in the grading of U.S. beef) an official grade below that of “choice.”
- possessions, especially movable effects or personal property.
- articles of trade; wares; merchandise: canned goods.
- Informal.what has been promised or is expected: to deliver the goods.
- Informal.the genuine article.
- Informal.evidence of guilt, as stolen articles: to catch someone with the goods.
- cloth or textile material: top-quality linen goods.
- Chiefly British.merchandise sent by land, rather than by water or air.
- the good,
- the ideal of goodness or morality.
- good things or persons collectively.
- (used as an expression of approval or satisfaction): Good! Now we can all go home.
- Informal. well1(defs 1–3, 8): I wish I could cook this good! Yes, we knew him pretty good.
- as good as. as1(def 20).
- come to no good, to end in failure or as a failure: Her jealous relatives said that she would come to no good.
- for good, finally and permanently; forever: to leave the country for good.Also for good and all.
- good and, Informal. very; completely; exceedingly: This soup is good and hot.
- good for,
- certain to repay (money owed) because of integrity, financial stability, etc.
- the equivalent in value of: Two thousand stamps are good for one coffeepot.
- able to survive or continue functioning for (the length of time or the distance indicated): These tires are good for another 10,000 miles.
- valid or in effect for (the length of time indicated): a license good for one year.
- (used as an expression of approval): Good for you!
- good full, Nautical. (of a sail or sails) well filled, especially when sailing close to the wind; clean full; rap full.
- make good,
- to make recompense for; repay.
- to implement an agreement; fulfill.
- to be successful.
- to substantiate; verify.
- to carry out; accomplish; execute: The convicts made good their getaway.
- no good, without value or merit; worthless; contemptible: The check was no good.
- to the good,
- generally advantageous: That's all to the good, but what do I get out of it?
- richer in profit or gain: When he withdrew from the partnership, he was several thousand dollars to the good.
Origin of good
Synonyms for goodSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
The adjective good is standard after linking verbs like taste, smell, look, feel, be, and seem: Everything tastes good. The biscuits smell good. You're looking good today. When used after look or feel, good may refer to spirits as well as health: I'm feeling pretty good this morning, ready to take on the world. Well is both an adjective and an adverb. As an adjective used after look, feel, or other linking verbs, it often refers to good health: You're looking well; we missed you while you were in the hospital. See also bad.
- in a good or satisfactory manner: Business is going well.
- thoroughly, carefully, or soundly: to shake well before using; listen well.
- in a moral or proper manner: to behave well.
- commendably, meritoriously, or excellently: a difficult task well done.
- with propriety, justice, or reason: I could not well refuse.
- adequately or sufficiently: Think well before you act.
- to a considerable extent or degree (often used in combination): a sum well over the amount agreed upon; a well-developed theme.
- with great or intimate knowledge: to know a person well.
- certainly; without doubt: I anger easily, as you well know.
- with good nature; without rancor: He took the joke well.
- in good health; sound in body and mind: Are you well? He is not a well man.
- satisfactory, pleasing, or good: All is well with us.
- proper, fitting, or gratifying: It is well that you didn't go.
- in a satisfactory position; well-off: I am very well as I am.
- (used to express surprise, reproof, etc.): Well! There's no need to shout.
- (used to introduce a sentence, resume a conversation, etc.): Well, who would have thought he could do it?
- well-being; good fortune; success: to wish well to someone.
- as well,
- in addition; also; too: She insisted on directing the play and on producing it as well.
- equally: The town grew as well because of its location as because of its superb climate.
- as well as, as much or as truly as; equally as: Joan is witty as well as intelligent.
- leave well enough alone, avoid changing something that is satisfactory.
Origin of well1
Synonyms for wellSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
Antonyms for well
In a similar manner, adjectival compounds formed with better, best, little, lesser, least, etc., are also hyphenated when placed before the noun ( a little-understood theory ), but the hyphen is dropped when the adjectival combination follows the noun ( his films are best known in England ) or is itself modified by an adverb ( a too little understood theory ).
There are exceptions to this pattern. For example, when the combining adverb ends in –ly, no hyphen is required, whether the resulting adjectival combination appears before or after the noun: a highly regarded surgeon; a surgeon who is highly regarded.
Don’t let the hyphens fool you. Punctuation can be tricky!
- a hole drilled or bored into the earth to obtain water, petroleum, natural gas, brine, or sulfur.
- a spring or natural source of water.
- an apparent reservoir or a source of human feelings, emotions, energy, etc.: He was a well of gentleness and courtesy.
- a container, receptacle, or reservoir for a liquid: the well of ink in a fountain pen.
- any sunken or deep, enclosed space, as a shaft for air or light, stairs, or an elevator, extending vertically through the floors of a building.
- a part of a weather deck between two superstructures, extending from one side of a vessel to the other.
- a compartment or enclosure around a ship's pumps to make them easily accessible and protect them from being damaged by the cargo.
- a hollow compartment, recessed area, or depression for holding a specific item or items, as fish in the bottom of a boat or the retracted wheels of an airplane in flight.
- any shaft dug or bored into the earth, as for storage space or a mine.
- to rise, spring, or gush, as water, from the earth or some other source (often followed by up, out, or forth): Tears welled up in my eyes.
- to send welling up or forth: a fountain welling its pure water.
- like, of, resembling, from, or used in connection with a well.
Origin of well2
Synonyms for wellSee more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
- a person who bet.
Origin of bettor
Related Words for bettersuperior, improved, exceptional, improving, well, more, advance, exceed, raise, beat, excel, surpass, enhance, correct, sophisticated, preferred, choice, surpassing, exceeding, fitter
Examples from the Web for better
Contemporary Examples of better
We need to recover and grow the idea that the proper answer to bad speech is more and better speech.
Yes, we do typically do better than Europe (and Canada, too, which is frequently awful on this score).
The cartoonist, better known as Charb, was shot dead Wednesday.France Kills Charlie Hebdo Murderers
January 9, 2015
He also wants to “replace every existing organism with a better one.”Design Your Own Dinosaur: The Era of Custom DNA
January 8, 2015
Like most Jewish mothers, Myerson thought her daughter could do better.Why Was Bess Myerson the First and Last Jewish Miss America?
January 7, 2015
Historical Examples of better
The little truffled French sausages aroused his better nature.
Who could have proved a better protector than Phidias has been?
"He'd better improve his whiskers first thing he does," suggested Percival.
I know, better than you possibly can, what reasons I have to trust the strength of his affection.
Then it's better to take him out back of the barn and shoot him, by Gad!
- the comparative of good
- more excellent than other members of a particular group, category, etc
- more suitable, advantageous, attractive, etc
- improved in health
- fully recovered in health
- in more favourable circumstances, esp financially
- better off in more favourable circumstances, esp financially
- the better part of a large part ofthe better part of a day
- the comparative of well 1
- in a more excellent manner; more advantageously, attractively, etc
- in or to a greater degree or extent; moreshe is better loved than her sister
- go one better (Brit intr; US tr) to outdo (a person) or improve upon (someone else's effort)
- had better would be wise, sensible, etc toI had better be off
- know better than to not to be so stupid as to
- think better of
- to change one's course of action after reconsideration
- to rate (a person) more highly
- the better something that is the more excellent, useful, etc, of two such things
- (usually plural) a person who is superior, esp in social standing or ability
- all the better for improved as a result of
- all the better to more suitable to
- for better for worse whatever the subsequent events or changes may be
- for the better by way of improvementa change for the better
- get the better of to defeat, outwit, or surpass
- the better of Irish having recovered fromI'm not the better of it yet
- to make or become better
- (tr) to improve upon; surpass
Word Origin for better
esp US bettor
- a person who bets
- having admirable, pleasing, superior, or positive qualities; not negative, bad or mediocrea good idea; a good teacher
- morally excellent or admirable; virtuous; righteousa good man
- (as collective noun; preceded by the)the good
- suitable or efficient for a purposea good secretary; a good winter coat
- beneficial or advantageousvegetables are good for you
- not ruined or decayed; sound or wholethe meat is still good
- kindly, generous, or approvingyou are good to him
- right or acceptableyour qualifications are good for the job
- rich and fertilegood land
- valid or genuineI would not do this without good reason
- honourable or held in high esteema good family
- commercially or financially secure, sound, or safegood securities; a good investment
- (of a draft) drawn for a stated sum
- (of debts) expected to be fully paid
- clever, competent, or talentedhe's good at science
- obedient or well-behaveda good dog
- reliable, safe, or recommendeda good make of clothes
- affording material pleasure or indulgencethe good things in life; the good life
- having a well-proportioned, beautiful, or generally fine appearancea good figure; a good complexion
- complete; fullI took a good look round the house
- propitious; opportunea good time to ask the manager for a rise
- satisfying or gratifyinga good rest
- comfortabledid you have a good night?
- newest or of the best qualityto keep the good plates for important guests
- fairly large, extensive, or longa good distance away
- sufficient; amplewe have a good supply of food
- US (of meat) of the third government grade, above standard and below choice
- serious or intellectualgood music
- used in a traditional descriptionthe good ship ``America''
- used in polite or patronizing phrases or to express anger (often intended ironically)how is your good lady?; look here, my good man!
- a good one
- an unbelievable assertion
- a very funny joke
- as good as virtually; practicallyit's as good as finished
- as good as gold excellent; very good indeed
- be as good as to or be so good as to would you please
- come good to recover and perform well after a bad start or setback
- good and informal (intensifier)good and mad
- (intensifier; used in mild oaths)good grief!; good heavens!
- an exclamation of approval, agreement, pleasure, etc
- moral or material advantage or use; benefit or profitfor the good of our workers; what is the good of worrying?
- positive moral qualities; goodness; virtue; righteousness; piety
- (sometimes capital) moral qualities seen as a single abstract entitywe must pursue the Good
- a good thing
- economics a commodity or service that satisfies a human need
- for good or for good and all forever; permanentlyI have left them for good
- make good
- to recompense or repair damage or injury
- to be successful
- to demonstrate or prove the truth of (a statement or accusation)
- to secure and retain (a position)
- to effect or fulfil (something intended or promised)
- good on you or good for you well done, well said, etc: a term of congratulation
- get any good of or get some good of Irish
- to handle to good effectI never got any good of this machine
- to understand properlyI could never get any good of him
- to receive cooperation from
Word Origin for good
- (often used in combination) in a satisfactory mannerthe party went very well
- (often used in combination) in a good, skilful, or pleasing mannershe plays the violin well
- in a correct or careful mannerlisten well to my words
- in a comfortable or prosperous mannerto live well
- (usually used with auxiliaries) suitably; fittinglyyou can't very well say that
- intimatelyI knew him well
- in a kind or favourable mannershe speaks well of you
- to a great or considerable extent; fullyto be well informed
- by a considerable marginlet me know well in advance
- (preceded by could, might, or may) indeedyou may well have to do it yourself
- informal (intensifier)well safe
- all very well used ironically to express discontent, dissent, etc
- as well
- in addition; too
- (preceded by may or might)with equal effectyou might as well come
- just as wellpreferable or advisableit would be just as well if you paid me now
- as well as in addition to
- just leave well alone or just leave well enough alone to refrain from interfering with something that is satisfactory
- well and good used to indicate calm acceptance, as of a decisionif you accept my offer, well and good
- well up in well acquainted with (a particular subject); knowledgeable about
- (when prenominal, usually used with a negative) in good healthI'm very well, thank you; he's not a well man
- satisfactory, agreeable, or pleasing
- prudent; advisableit would be well to make no comment
- prosperous or comfortable
- fortunate or happyit is well that you agreed to go
- an expression of surprise, indignation, or reproof
- an expression of anticipation in waiting for an answer or remark
- an expression used to preface a remark, gain time, etcwell, I don't think I will come
Word Origin for well
- a hole or shaft that is excavated, drilled, bored, or cut into the earth so as to tap a supply of water, oil, gas, etc
- a natural pool where ground water comes to the surface
- a cavity, space, or vessel used to contain a liquid
- (in combination)an inkwell
- an open shaft through the floors of a building, such as one used for a staircase
- a deep enclosed space in a building or between buildings that is open to the sky to permit light and air to enter
- a bulkheaded compartment built around a ship's pumps for protection and ease of access
- another word for cockpit
- a perforated tank in the hold of a fishing boat for keeping caught fish alive
- (in England) the open space in the centre of a law court
- a source, esp one that provides a continuous supplyhe is a well of knowledge
- to flow or cause to flow upwards or outwardstears welled from her eyes
Word Origin for well
Old English bettra, earlier betera, from Proto-Germanic *batizo-, from PIE *bhad- "good;" see best. Comparative adjective of good in the older Germanic languages (cf. Old Frisian betera, Old Saxon betiro, Old Norse betr, Danish bedre, Old High German bezziro, German besser, Gothic batiza). In English it superseded bet in the adverbial sense by 1600. Better half "wife" is first attested 1570s.
late 12c., "that which is better," from better (adj.). Specific meaning "one's superior" is from early 14c. To get the better of (someone) is from 1650s, from better in a sense of "superiority, mastery," which is recorded from mid-15c.
Old English *beterian "improve, amend, make better," from Proto-Germanic *batizojan (cf. Old Frisian beteria, Dutch beteren, Old Norse betra, Old High German baziron, German bessern), from *batiz- (see better (adj.)). Related: Bettered; bettering.
"hole dug for water, spring of water," Old English wielle (West Saxon), welle (Anglian), from wiellan (see well (v.)).
Old English gōd "that which is good, goodness; advantage, benefit; gift; virtue; property;" from good (adj.).
also better (OED notes that English agent nouns in -er tend to shift toward -or as their senses become more specific), agent noun from bet (v.).
"in a satisfactory manner," Old English wel, common Germanic (cf. Old Saxon wela, Old Norse vel, Old Frisian wel, Dutch wel, Old High German wela, German wohl, Gothic waila "well"), from PIE *wel-, *wol- (cf. Sanskrit prati varam "at will," Old Church Slavonic vole "well," Welsh gwell "better," Latin velle "to wish, will," Old English willan "to wish;" see will (v.)). Also used in Old English as an interjection and an expression of surprise. Well-to-do "prosperous" is recorded from 1825.
"to spring, rise, gush," Old English wiellan (Anglian wællan), causative of weallan "to boil, bubble up" (class VII strong verb; past tense weoll, past participle weallen), from Proto-Germanic *wal-, *wel- "roll" (cf. Old Saxon wallan, Old Norse vella, Old Frisian walla, Old High German wallan, German wallen, Gothic wulan "to bubble, boil"), from PIE root *wel- "to turn, roll" (see volvox), on notion of "roiling or bubbling water."
Old English god (with a long "o") "virtuous; desirable; valid; considerable," probably originally "having the right or desirable quality," from Proto-Germanic *gothaz (cf. Old Norse goðr, Dutch goed, Old High German guot, German gut, Gothic goþs), originally "fit, adequate, belonging together," from PIE root *ghedh- "to unite, be associated, suitable" (cf. Old Church Slavonic godu "pleasing time," Russian godnyi "fit, suitable," Old English gædrian "to gather, to take up together"). As an expression of satisfaction, from early 15c.; of children, "well-behaved," by 1690s.
Irregular comparatives (better, best) reflect a widespread pattern, cf. Latin bonus, melior, optimus. Good-for-nothing is from 1711. Good looking is attested from 1780 (good looks by c.1800). Good sport, of persons, is from 1906; good to go is attested from 1989. The good book "the Bible" attested from 1801, originally in missionary literature describing the language of conversion efforts in American Indian tribes.
Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing. ["As You Like It"]
- A deep hole or shaft sunk into the Earth to tap a liquid or gaseous substance such as water, oil, gas, or brine. If the substance is not under sufficient pressure to flow freely from the well, it must be pumped or raised mechanically to the surface. Water or pressurized gas is sometimes pumped into a nonproducing oil well to push petroleum resources out of underground reservoirs. See also artesian well.
In addition to the idioms beginning with better
- better half
- better late than never
- better off
- better part of
- better safe than sorry
- better than
- against one's better judgment
- all better
- all the better
- discretion is the better part of valor
- for better or for worse
- get better
- get the better (best) of
- go one better
- had better (best)
- know better
- seen better days
- so much the better
- sooner the better
- take a turn for the better
- think better of
- you'd better believe it
Also see underbest.
In addition to the idioms beginning with good
- good and
- good around
- good as, as
- good as done, as
- good as gold, as
- good as one's word, as
- good day
- good deal, a
- good egg, a
- good evening
- good faith
- good for
- good graces
- good grief
- good head on one's shoulders, have a
- good life, the
- good luck
- good many, a
- good mind
- good morning
- good nature
- goodness gracious
- goodness knows
- good night
- good off
- good riddance
- good Samaritan
- good scout
- good sort
- good thing
- good time
- good turn
- good word
- good works
- goody two-shoes
- bad (good) sort
- but good
- do any good
- do good
- do one good
- for good
- for good measure
- get on someone's good side
- get out while the getting is good
- give a good account of oneself
- give as good as one gets
- have a good command of
- have a good mind to
- have a good thing going
- have a good time
- hold good
- ill wind (that blows nobody any good)
- in all good conscience
- in bad (good) faith
- in (good) condition
- in due course (all in good time)
- in good
- in good hands
- in good part
- in good spirits
- in good time
- in good with
- in someone's good graces
- keep (good) time
- make good
- make good time
- make someone look good
- miss is as good as a mile
- never had it so good
- no good
- no news is good news
- not the only fish (other good fish) in the sea
- one good turn deserves another
- on good terms
- on one's best (good) behavior
- put in a good word
- put to good use
- show someone a good time
- show to (good) advantage
- so far so good
- stand in good stead
- take in good part
- throw good money after bad
- to good purpose
- too good to be true
- too much of a good thing
- to the good
- turn to (good account)
- up to no good
- well and good
- what's the good of
- with good grace
- world of good
- your guess is as good as mine
Also see undergoodnessgoods.
In addition to the idioms beginning with well
- well and good
- well off
- well out of, be
- well preserved
- alive and kicking (well)
- all's well that ends well
- all very well
- as well
- as well as
- augur well for
- damn well
- do well
- full well
- get well
- hanged for a sheep, might as well be
- leave well enough alone
- only too (well)
- sit well with
- think a lot (well) of
- to a fare-thee-well
- very well
- wear well