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
Synonyms for better
Related Words for get the better ofcrush, overwhelm, win, reduce, overpower, weather, conquer, survive, surmount, stun, suppress, humble, tame, quell, restrain, extinguish, repress, temper, overcome, beat
- to change one's course of action after reconsideration
- to rate (a person) more highly
Word Origin for better
esp US bettor
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 In English it superseded bet in the adverbial sense by 1600.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.
get the better of
Also, get the best of; have the better or best of. Become superior to or master someone or something; win out. For example, John's common sense got the better of his pride, and he apologized, or Her older sister was always trying to get the best of her, or He was determined to have the better of his competitors. [c. 1600] Also see get the drop on.
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.