adjective, compar. of good with best as superl.
adverb, compar. of well with best as superl.
verb (used with object)
- in better circumstances.
- more fortunate; happier: Because of his asthma, he would be better off in a different climate.
- to get an advantage over.
- to prevail against.
- 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
Definition for better (2 of 6)
Definition for better (3 of 6)
adjective, bet·ter, best.
- 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 ideal of goodness or morality.
- good things or persons collectively.
Origin of good
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.
Definition for better (4 of 6)
adjective, comparative bet·ter, superlative best.
Origin of well1
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!
Definition for better (5 of 6)
- 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.
verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
Origin of well2
Definition for better (6 of 6)
Examples from the Web for 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.
He also wants to “replace every existing organism with a better one.”
Like most Jewish mothers, Myerson thought her daughter could do better.Why Was Bess Myerson the First and Last Jewish Miss America?|Emily Shire|January 7, 2015|DAILY BEAST
The only redeeming feature was a better garden than most London houses have, a strip as wide as the house, and thirty yards long.The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, Volume I (of II)|Charles Darwin
For a father he careth not sufficiently for his children: human fathers do this better!Thus Spake Zarathustra|Friedrich Nietzsche
If things take the better turn, our condition will be surer and firmer than it was before.History of Friedrich II. of Prussia, Vol. XV. (of XXI.)|Thomas Carlyle
When he tired of the tumult of the bar-room and a sense of his better self came over him, some one said: "Give us another, Tom."
Miss Mitford says somewhere,—to no one better than to herself does this apply.Our Village|Mary Russell Mitford
British Dictionary definitions for better (1 of 5)
- to change one's course of action after reconsideration
- to rate (a person) more highly
Word Origin for better
British Dictionary definitions for better (2 of 5)
esp US bettor
British Dictionary definitions for better (3 of 5)
adjective better or best
- morally excellent or admirable; virtuous; righteousa good man
- (as collective noun; preceded by the)the good
- an unbelievable assertion
- a very funny joke
- 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)
- 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
British Dictionary definitions for better (4 of 5)
adverb better or best
- in addition; too
- (preceded by may or might) with equal effectyou might as well come
- just as well preferable or advisableit would be just as well if you paid me now
adjective (usually postpositive)
- an expression of surprise, indignation, or reproof
- an expression of anticipation in waiting for an answer or remark
Word Origin for well
British Dictionary definitions for better (5 of 5)
- a cavity, space, or vessel used to contain a liquid
- (in combination)an inkwell
- a bulkheaded compartment built around a ship's pumps for protection and ease of access
- another word for cockpit
Word Origin for well
Word Origin and History for better (1 of 9)
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.
Word Origin and History for better (1 of 9)
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.
Word Origin and History for better (2 of 9)
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.
Word Origin and History for better (3 of 9)
"hole dug for water, spring of water," Old English wielle (West Saxon), welle (Anglian), from wiellan (see well (v.)).
Word Origin and History for better (4 of 9)
Old English gōd "that which is good, goodness; advantage, benefit; gift; virtue; property;" from good (adj.).
Word Origin and History for better (5 of 9)
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.).
Word Origin and History for better (6 of 9)
"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.
Word Origin and History for better (7 of 9)
"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."
Word Origin and History for better (8 of 9)
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"]
Science definitions for better
Idioms and Phrases with better (1 of 3)
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.
Idioms and Phrases with better (2 of 3)
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.
Idioms and Phrases with better (3 of 3)
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