[ im-proov ]
See synonyms for: improveimprovedimprovesimproving on

verb (used with object),im·proved, im·prov·ing.
  1. to bring into a more desirable or excellent condition: He took vitamins to improve his health.

  2. to make (land) more useful, profitable, or valuable by enclosure, cultivation, etc.

  1. to increase the value of (real property) by betterments, as the construction of buildings and sewers.

  2. to make good use of; turn to account: He improved the stopover by seeing a client with offices there.

verb (used without object),im·proved, im·prov·ing.
  1. to increase in value, excellence, etc.; become better: The military situation is improving.

  2. to make improvements, as by revision, addition, or change: None of the younger violinists have been able to improve on his interpretation of that work.

Origin of improve

First recorded in 1425–75; late Middle English improuen, emprouen from Anglo-French emprouer “to turn (something) into profit,” derivative of phrase en prou “into profit,” equivalent to en (see en-1) + prou, Old French prou, preu from Late Latin prōde (est), by reanalysis of Latin prōdest “(it) is beneficial, of use,” with prōde taken as a neuter noun (cf. proud); the sound v was made by association with prove, approve

Other words for improve

Opposites for improve

Other words from improve

  • im·prov·a·ble, adjective
  • im·prov·a·bil·i·ty, im·prov·a·ble·ness, noun
  • im·prov·a·bly, adverb
  • im·prov·ing·ly, adverb
  • pre·im·prove, verb (used with object), pre·im·proved, pre·im·prov·ing.
  • qua·si-im·proved, adjective
  • su·per·im·proved, adjective
  • well-im·proved, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use improve in a sentence

  • The living is valued at £140 a year, but perhaps it may be improvable.

    Jane Austen, Her Life and Letters | William Austen-Leigh and Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh
  • My object will be to obtain a farm of large acreage and poor land, but improvable by better drainage and an outlay of capital.

    Out on the Pampas | G. A. Henty
  • When you tell him that his soul is not improvable by material conditions, you prevent him from making himself better than he is.

    A Few Words About the Devil | Charles Bradlaugh
  • God himself has decreed it, in giving us expansible desires and improvable faculties.

  • We have just pointed out the importance of reserving the schools for defectives for improvable cases.

British Dictionary definitions for improve


/ (ɪmˈpruːv) /

  1. to make or become better in quality; ameliorate

  2. (tr) to make (buildings, land, etc) more valuable by additions or betterment

  1. (intr; usually foll by on or upon) to achieve a better standard or quality in comparison (with): to improve on last year's crop

  1. on the improve Australian informal improving

Origin of improve

C16: from Anglo-French emprouer to turn to profit, from en prou into profit, from prou profit, from Late Latin prōde beneficial, from Latin prōdesse to be advantageous, from pro- 1 + esse to be

Derived forms of improve

  • improvable, adjective
  • improvability or improvableness, noun
  • improvably, adverb
  • improver, noun
  • improvingly, adverb

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