View synonyms for better



[ bet-er ]


  1. of superior quality or excellence:

    a better coat; a better speech.

  2. morally superior; more virtuous:

    They are no better than thieves.

  3. of superior suitability, advisability, desirability, acceptableness, etc.; preferable:

    a better time for action.

  4. larger; greater:

    the better part of a lifetime.

  5. improved in health; healthier than before.
  6. completely recovered in health.


  1. in a more appropriate or acceptable way or manner:

    to behave better.

  2. to a greater degree; more completely or thoroughly:

    He knows the way better than we do. I probably know him better than anyone else.

  3. I walked better than a mile to town.

verb (used with object)

  1. to increase the good qualities of; make better; improve:

    to better one's grades;

    to better the lot of the suburban commuter.

    Synonyms: rectify, reform, promote, advance, amend, correct

  2. to improve upon; surpass; exceed:

    We have bettered last year's production record.

  3. Cards. to raise (a previous bid).


  1. that which has greater excellence or is preferable or wiser:

    the better of two choices.

  2. Usually betters. those superior to one in wisdom, wealth, etc.



[ bet-er ]


  1. a variant of bettor.



/ ˈbɛtə /


  1. a person who bets



/ 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


  1. the comparative of well 1
  2. in a more excellent manner; more advantageously, attractively, etc
  3. in or to a greater degree or extent; more

    she is better loved than her sister

  4. go one better
    Brit intr; US tr to outdo (a person) or improve upon (someone else's effort)
  5. had better
    would be wise, sensible, etc to

    I had better be off

  6. know better than to
    not to be so stupid as to
  7. think better of
    1. to change one's course of action after reconsideration
    2. to rate (a person) more highly


  1. the better
    something that is the more excellent, useful, etc, of two such things
  2. usually plural a person who is superior, esp in social standing or ability
  3. all the better for
    improved as a result of
  4. all the better to
    more suitable to
  5. for better for worse
    whatever the subsequent events or changes may be
  6. for the better
    by way of improvement

    a change for the better

  7. get the better of
    to defeat, outwit, or surpass
  8. the better of
    having recovered from

    I'm not the better of it yet


  1. to make or become better
  2. tr to improve upon; surpass

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Other Words From

  • un·bettered adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of better1

First recorded before 900; Middle English bettre, Old English bet(te)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 (adverb) “better”; akin to boot 2 ) + -iza comparative suffix; best

Origin of better2

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Word History and Origins

Origin of better1

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

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. better off,
    1. in better circumstances.
    2. more fortunate; happier:

      Because of his asthma, he would be better off in a different climate.

  2. better oneself, to improve one's social standing, financial position, or education:

    He is going to night school because he wants to better himself.

  3. for the better, in a way that is an improvement:

    His health changed for the better.

  4. get / have the better of,
    1. to get an advantage over.
    2. to prevail against.
  5. go (someone) one better, to exceed the effort of; be superior to:

    The neighbors went us one better by buying two new cars.

  6. had better, would be wiser or more well-advised to; ought to:

    We had better stay indoors today.

  7. no better than one should be, morally inferior; immoral or amoral:

    Don't speak to him; he's no better than he should be!

  8. think better of,
    1. to reconsider and decide more favorably or wisely regarding:

      I was tempted to make a sarcastic retort, but thought better of it.

    2. to form a higher opinion of:

      I think better of him now that he's gone back to college.

More idioms and phrases containing better

  • 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
  • best

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Example Sentences

Then pair it with regulatory changes to help the housing market work better for more people.

From Vox

As the actors do it more and more, they get better and better.

From Fortune

With such training, police departments will be better positioned to collect and evaluate data on their own.

Researchers are hopeful about using machine learning techniques to analyze medical data like patient records, which could help doctors better treat patients by knowing how they’ll likely respond to certain therapies.

From Fortune

Non-Black allies of color are also taking steps to support food justice — providing meals to a Black Lives Matter chapter, championing Black chefs, and better fostering workplace diversity.

From Eater

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.

He also wants to “replace every existing organism with a better one.”

For someone with anorexia, self-starvation makes them feel better.

Of course, considerations of weight have to be taken into account, but the more mould round the roots the better.

"Better so," was the Senora's sole reply; and she fell again into still deeper, more perplexed thought about the hidden treasure.

Arches more graceful in form, or better fitted to defy the assaults of time, I have never seen.

This is one of the most striking manifestations of the better side of child-nature and deserves a chapter to itself.

For it is better that thy children should ask of thee, than that thou look toward the hands of thy children.


Related Words

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More About Better

What is a basic definition of better?

Better is an adjective that describes something as being superior or is an adverb that means something is done to a higher degree or more completely. As a verb, better means to improve. The word better has more specific senses as an adjective, adverb, and a verb.

As an adjective, the word better is a comparative of the word good, with the superlative being best. This means that if something is better, it is “more good” than something else but might be “less good” than something that is best. For example, in the Olympic Games a bronze medal is good, a silver medal is better, and a gold medal is the best you can get. Because better is a comparative, you must be comparing two things or conditions when using it.

  • Real-life examples: An A is a better grade than a B on a test. Most people would agree that a spoonful of cinnamon has a better taste than a spoonful of cough medicine. A racer who finishes first is a better driver than all of the other racers.
  • Used in a sentence: I think a puppy is a better pet for a kid than a snake. 

Sometimes, only one of the things being compared is mentioned, while the other is implied. This is most commonly done when the word better is used to mean improved health.

  • Used in a sentence: I was throwing up all morning, but I am better now.

Better is also used as an adverb as a comparative of the word well, with best as the superlative. It often describes how something is done. For example, I can play soccer well, a college soccer player plays better, and an Olympic soccer player plays best out of the three of us.

  • Real-life examples: A chess master will play chess better than someone who has never played at all. Some students learn better than others. You read articles like this one to learn how to use words better.
  • Used in a sentence: He can draw well, but I know that I can draw better (than he can). 

As a verb, better means to improve something.

  • Used in a sentence: Laurel took the time to better herself as a business owner.

Where does better come from?

The first records of better come from before the 900s. It comes from the Old English betera and is related to similar words from other languages, such as the Old Norse betr, the Gothic batiza, and the Old High German bezziro.

Did you know ... ?

What are some other forms related to better?

  • unbettered (adjective)

What are some synonyms for better?

What are some words that share a root or word element with better?

What are some words that often get used in discussing better?

What are some words better may be commonly confused with?

How is better used in real life?

Better is a very common word that means something is superior or something is done in a superior way.


Try using better!

Is better used correctly in the following sentence? 

I played well and scored 17 points, but she played better and scored 20 points to beat me.

When To Use

What are other ways to say better?

To better something is to increase its good qualities. When should you use this verb over improve or ameliorate? Find out on

Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

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




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