better-off

[bet-er-awf, -of]
|

adjective

being in better circumstances, especially economically: Only the better-off nations can afford to send probes into space.

Origin of better-off

First recorded in 1860–65

better

1
[bet-er]

adjective, compar. of good with best as superl.

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.

adverb, compar. of well with best as superl.

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.

verb (used with object)

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).

noun

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.

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

Synonyms for better

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

Related Words for better off

happier

British Dictionary definitions for better off

better

1

adjective

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

adverb

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
  1. to change one's course of action after reconsideration
  2. to rate (a person) more highly

noun

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

verb

to make or become better
(tr) to improve upon; surpass

Word Origin for better

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

better

2

esp US bettor

noun

a person who bets
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 off

better

adj.

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.

better

n.

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.

better

v.

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with better off

better off

In a more favorable position or financial circumstances. For example, They were better off flying than driving there, or They were better off than most of their neighbors. This phrase is the comparative form of well off. [Mid-1800s]

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.

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