Dictionary > English Dictionary > Definition, synonym and antonym of better
Meaning of better by Wiktionary Dictionary



    • ( RP ) IPA: /ˈbɛt.ə/, X-SAMPA: /"bEt.@/
    • ( Australia ) IPA: /ˈbet.ə/, X-SAMPA: /"bet.@/
    • ( GenAm ) IPA: /ˈbɛɾ.ɚ/, X-SAMPA: /"bEr.@`/
    • Rhymes: -ɛtə( r )
    • Hyphenation: bet‧ter

    Etymology 1

    From Middle English better, bettre, from Old English betera ( “better” ), from Proto-Germanic *batizô ( “better” ), from Proto-Indo-European *bhAd- ( “good” ). Cognate with Sanskrit ( bhadrá, “blessed, fortunate, happy, good” ). For Germanic cognates: see Proto-Germanic *batizô. Verb is from Middle English beteren, from Old English beterian ( “to make better, improve” ). Related to best. Compare also Icelandic batna ( “to improve” ), Icelandic bót ( “improvement” ). More at batten, boot .



    1. comparative form of good or well: more good or well
    Derived terms
    Related terms



    1. comparative form of well: more well
    Derived terms
    Related terms


    better ( third-person singular simple present betters present participle bettering, simple past and past participle bettered )

    1. ( transitive ) To improve .
    2. Had better .
      You better do that if you know what's good for you .
    Derived terms
    • See also Wikisaurus:improve


    better ( plural: betters )

    1. An entity, usually animate, deemed superior to another .
      He quickly found Ali his better in the ring .

    Derived terms

    Etymology 2

    Alternate pronunciation of bettor or modern formation from the verb to bet .


    better ( plural: betters )

    1. Alternative spelling of bettor .


    • frequency based on Project Gutenberg corpus">Most common English words before 1923: going · knew · seen · #207: better · name · among · done

Explanation of better by Wordnet Dictionary


    1. get better

    2. to make better

    3. surpass in excellence

    4. She bettered her own record
    1. in a better or more excellent manner or more advantageously or attractively or to a greater degree etc .

    2. She had never sung better
      a deed better left undone
      better suited to the job
    3. from a position of superiority or authority

    4. I know better.
    1. wiser or more advantageous and hence advisable

    2. it would be better to speak to him
    3. superior to another ( of the same class or set or kind ) in excellence or quality or desirability or suitability

    4. You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din
      a better coat
      a better type of car
      a suit with a better fit
      a better chance of success
      produced a better mousetrap
      she's better in math than in history
    5. changed for the better in health or fitness

    6. her health is better now
      I feel better
    7. more than half

    8. argued for the better part of an hour
    1. something superior in quality or condition or effect

    2. a change for the better
    3. the superior one of two alternatives

    4. chose the better of the two
    5. a superior person having claim to precedence

    6. the common man has been kept in his place by his betters
    7. someone who bets

    Definition of better by GCIDE Dictionary


    1. Better a.; compar. of Good. [OE. betere, bettre, and as adv. bet, AS. betera, adj., and bet, adv.; akin to Icel. betri, adj., betr, adv., Goth. batiza, adj., OHG. bezziro, adj., baz, adv., G. besser, adj. and adv., bass, adv., E. boot, and prob. to Skr. bhadra excellent. See Boot advantage, and cf. Best, Batful.]
      1. Having good qualities in a greater degree than another; as, “a better man; a better physician; a better house; a better air”.

      Could make the worse appear

      The better reason. Milton.

      2. Preferable in regard to rank, value, use, fitness, acceptableness, safety, or in any other respect.

      To obey is better than sacrifice. 1 Sam. xv. 22.

      It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes. Ps. cxviii. 9.

      3. Greater in amount; larger; more.

      4. Improved in health; less affected with disease; as, “the patient is better”.

      5. More advanced; more perfect; as, “upon better acquaintance; a better knowledge of the subject”.

      All the better. See under All, adv. -- Better half, an expression used to designate one's wife.

      My dear, my better half ( said he ),

      I find I must now leave thee. Sir P. Sidney.

      -- To be better off, to be in a better condition. -- Had better. ( See under Had ). The phrase had better, followed by an infinitive without to, is idiomatic. The earliest form of construction was “were better” with a dative; as, “Him were better go beside.” ( Gower. ) i. e., It would be better for him, etc. At length the nominative ( I, he, they, etc. ) supplanted the dative and had took the place of were. Thus we have the construction now used.

      By all that's holy, he had better starve

      Than but once think this place becomes thee not. Shak.

    2. Better, n.
      1. Advantage, superiority, or victory; -- usually with of; as, “to get the better of an enemy”.

      2. One who has a claim to precedence; a superior, as in merit, social standing, etc.; -- usually in the plural.

      Their betters would hardly be found. Hooker.

      For the better, in the way of improvement; so as to produce improvement. “If I have altered him anywhere for the better.” Dryden.

    3. Better, adv.; compar. of Well.
      1. In a superior or more excellent manner; with more skill and wisdom, courage, virtue, advantage, or success; as, “Henry writes better than John; veterans fight better than recruits”.

      I could have better spared a better man. Shak.

      2. More correctly or thoroughly.

      The better to understand the extent of our knowledge. Locke.

      3. In a higher or greater degree; more; as, “to love one better than another”.

      Never was monarch better feared, and loved. Shak.

      4. More, in reference to value, distance, time, etc.; as, “ten miles and better”. [Colloq.]

      To think better of ( any one ), to have a more favorable opinion of any one. -- To think better of ( an opinion, resolution, etc. ), to reconsider and alter one's decision.

    4. Better v. t. [imp. & p. p. Bettered ( ); p. pr. & vb. n. Bettering.] [AS. beterian, betrian, fr. betera better. See Better, a.]
      1. To improve or ameliorate; to increase the good qualities of.

      Love betters what is best. Wordsworth.

      He thought to better his circumstances. Thackeray.

      2. To improve the condition of, morally, physically, financially, socially, or otherwise.

      The constant effort of every man to better himself. Macaulay.

      3. To surpass in excellence; to exceed; to excel.

      The works of nature do always aim at that which can not be bettered. Hooker.

      4. To give advantage to; to support; to advance the interest of. [Obs.]

      Weapons more violent, when next we meet,

      May serve to better us and worse our foes. Milton.

      Syn. -- To improve; meliorate; ameliorate; mend; amend; correct; emend; reform; advance; promote.

    5. Better, v. i. To become better; to improve. Carlyle.

    6. Better, n. One who bets or lays a wager.