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