- Make (something bad or unsatisfactory) better.
“I get a massage every week to help ameliorate my chronic back pain.”
“We need ways to ameliorate the high turnover rate at our stores.”
“My grandmother gave us hot tea with honey and lemon to ameliorate everything from colds to stubbed toes.”
French, mid-18th century
Why this word?
“Ameliorate” doesn’t just describe something getting better or improving. It’s used specifically to refer to something that is currently in a bad or negative state that’s then improved. Throughout history, people have come up with some strange ways of ameliorating symptoms of sickness or ill health. For many years, mercury was believed to cure ailments, heal injuries, and prolong life. The original ingredients in Coca-Cola were also much more stimulating than those in today’s recipe. Over time, however, the true side effects of these so-called remedies were discovered, and their ameliorating promises were dropped.
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