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[meel-yuh-reyt, mee-lee-uh-]
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verb (used with or without object), mel·io·rat·ed, mel·io·rat·ing.
  1. ameliorate.
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Origin of meliorate

1545–55; < Latin meliōrātus (past participle of meliōrāre) to make better, improve, equivalent to meliōr- (stem of melior) better + -ātus -ate1
Related formsmel·io·ra·ble [meel-yer-uh-buh l, mee-lee-er-uh-] /ˈmil yər ə bəl, ˈmi li ər ə-/, adjectivemel·io·ra·tive [meel-yuh-rey-tiv, -yer-uh-tiv, mee-lee-uh-rey-, -er-uh-] /ˈmil yəˌreɪ tɪv, -yər ə tɪv, ˈmi li əˌreɪ-, -ər ə-/, adjectivemel·io·ra·tor, nounun·mel·io·rat·ed, adjective


[uh-meel-yuh-reyt, uh-mee-lee-uh-]
verb (used with or without object), a·mel·io·rat·ed, a·mel·io·rat·ing.
  1. to make or become better, more bearable, or more satisfactory; improve: strategies to ameliorate negative effects on the environment.
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Also meliorate.

Origin of ameliorate

First recorded in 1760–70; a-5 + meliorate
Related formsa·mel·io·ra·ble, adjectivea·mel·io·ra·ble·ness, nouna·mel·io·rant, nouna·mel·io·ra·tive, a·mel·io·ra·to·ry [uh-meel-yer-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, uh-mee-lee-uh-] /əˈmil yər əˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i, əˈmi li ə-/, adjectivea·mel·io·ra·tor, nounun·a·mel·io·ra·ble, adjectiveun·a·mel·io·rat·ed, adjectiveun·a·mel·io·ra·tive, adjective
Can be confusedameliorate obviate vitiate


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


Examples from the Web for meliorate

Historical Examples

  • The Skipper did his best to meliorate the harsh native methods with dumb things.

    The Sea and the Jungle

    H. M. Tomlinson

  • Every attempt to meliorate his manners and Indian notions, has failed.

  • Rather let us say that that is very natural which nature permits us to meliorate in her handiwork.

  • There is room enough in this country for us; and if they be our friends, let them meliorate our condition here.

    Thoughts on African Colonization

    William Lloyd Garrison

  • To shorten and meliorate your way, I have determined to sacrifice every inferior consideration.

British Dictionary definitions for meliorate


  1. a variant of ameliorate
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Derived Formsmeliorable, adjectivemeliorative (ˈmiːlɪərətɪv), adjective, nounmeliorator, noun


  1. to make or become better; improve
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Derived Formsameliorable (əˈmiːljərəbəl), adjectiveameliorant, nounameliorative, adjectiveameliorator, noun

Word Origin

C18: from meliorate, influenced by French améliorer to improve, from Old French ameillorer to make better, from meillor better, from Latin melior


Ameliorate is often wrongly used where alleviate is meant. Ameliorate is properly used to mean `improve', not `make easier to bear', so one should talk about alleviating pain or hardship, not ameliorating it
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 meliorate


1550s, "to make better," back-formation from melioration or else from Late Latin melioratus, past participle of Latin meliorare "improve," from melior "better," used as comparative of bonus "good," but probably originally meaning "stronger," from PIE root *mel- "strong, great, numerous" (see multi-). Related: Meliorated; meliorating; melioration; meliorative.

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1728, perhaps a back-formation from amelioration on pattern of French améliorer. The simpler form meliorate was used in Middle English. Related: Ameliorated; ameliorating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper