Nearby words

  1. bette,
  2. betted,
  3. bettelheim,
  4. bettelheim, bruno,
  5. bettendorf,
  6. better business bureau,
  7. better business bureaus,
  8. better half,
  9. better late than never,
  10. better off

Idioms

Origin of better

1
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

Related formsun·bet·tered, adjective

Can be confusedbetter bettor

better

2
[ bet-er ]
/ ˈbɛt ər /

noun

Origin of better

2

Origin of good

before 900; Middle English (adj., adv., and noun); Old English gōd (adj.); cognate with Dutch goed, German gut, Old Norse gōthr, Gothic goths

Related formsqua·si-good, adjective

Can be confusedgood well (see usage note at the current entry)

Synonym study

47. See property.

Usage note

Good is common as an adverb in informal speech, especially after forms of do: He did good on the test. She sees good with her new glasses. This use does not occur in formal speech or edited writing, where the adverb well is used instead: He did well on the test. She sees well with her new glasses.
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.

Origin of well

1
before 900; Middle English, Old English wel(l) (adj. and adv.); cognate with Dutch wel, German wohl, Old Norse vel, Gothic waila

Grammar note

Sometimes an adverb like well is so often placed in front of and combined with a certain past participle in order to modify it that the resulting adjectival combination achieves the status of a common word and is listed in dictionaries. In Dictionary.com you will find, for example, entries for well-advised and well-mannered; for ill-advised, ill-bred, and ill-conceived; and for half-baked and half-cocked. Some of these terms are given full definitions, while others are considered such obvious combinations that you can figure out for yourself what they must mean. It is important to note, however, that compound adjectives like these are hyphenated for use before the noun they modify together. Thus we say that someone is “a well-loved professor,” but there would be no hyphen between well and loved in a sentence like “My English professor is well loved and deserves the award.”
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!

Usage note

See good.

Origin of well

2
before 900; (noun) Middle English well(e), Old English wylle, wella, welle; cognate with German Welle wave; (v.) Middle English wellen, Old English wellan (cognate with Dutch wellen, Old Norse vella); both noun and v. ultimately akin to weallan to boil

bettor

or bet·ter

[ bet-er ]
/ ˈbɛt ər /

noun

a person who bet.

Origin of bettor

First recorded in 1600–10; bet1 + -or2

Can be confusedbetter bettor

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for better


British Dictionary definitions for better

Word Origin for better

Old English betera; related to Old Norse betri, Gothic batiza, Old High German beziro

noun

a person who bets

good

/ (ɡʊd) /

adjective better or best

interjection

an exclamation of approval, agreement, pleasure, etc

noun

See also goods

Derived Formsgoodish, adjective

Word Origin for good

Old English gōd; related to Old Norse gōthr, Old High German guot good

Word Origin for well

Old English wel; related to Old High German wala, wola (German wohl), Old Norse val, Gothic waila

well

2
/ (wɛl) /

noun

verb

to flow or cause to flow upwards or outwardstears welled from her eyes

Word Origin for well

Old English wella; related to Old High German wella (German Welle wave), Old Norse vella boiling heat

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 better
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for better

well

[ wĕl ]

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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with better

better

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

also see:

  • 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.

good

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

also see:

  • 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.

well

In addition to the idioms beginning with well

  • well and good
  • well off
  • well out of, be
  • well preserved

also see:

  • 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
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.