better

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English[edit]

English Wikipedia has articles on:
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Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Middle English better, bettre, betre, from Old English betera (better), from Proto-Germanic *batizô (better), from Proto-Indo-European *bʰed-rós, from *bʰed- (good). Cognate with Sanskrit भद्र (bhadrá, blessed, fortunate, happy, good). For Germanic cognates: see Proto-Germanic *batizô. Related to best and battle (getting better, improving, fruitful, fertile). Compare also Icelandic batna (to improve), Icelandic bót (improvement). More at batten, boot.

Adjective[edit]

better (positive good, adverb well, comparative (humorous) betterer, superlative (humorous) betterest, or (standard) best)

  1. comparative form of good: more good
    • 2002 November 1, “Shindig”, in Firefly, episode 4:
      Badger: You think you're better than other people.
      Mal: Just the ones I'm better than.
  2. comparative form of well: more well
  3. Greater in amount or quantity
    • 1972, Harvey Andrews, Hey Sandy
      “The air was still with the lonely thrill of 'now the hour is near' / And the smell of sweat was better yet than the awful stench of fear.”
Alternative forms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Adverb[edit]

better

  1. comparative form of well: more well
  2. More, in reference to value, distance, time, etc.
    ten miles and better
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

better (plural betters)

  1. An entity, usually animate, deemed superior to another; one who has a claim to precedence; a superior.
    He quickly found Ali his better in the ring.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Hooker
      Their betters would hardly be found.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English beteren, from Old English beterian, betrian, from Proto-Germanic *batizōną. Cognate with West Frisian betterje (to better), Dutch beteren (to better), German bessern (to better), Danish bedre (to better), Swedish bättra (to better).

Verb[edit]

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

  1. (transitive) To improve.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Wordsworth
      Love betters what is best.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Thackeray
      He thought to better his circumstances.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Macaulay
      the constant effort of every man to better himself
  2. (intransitive) To become better; to improve.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Carlyle to this entry?)
  3. (transitive) To surpass in excellence; to exceed; to excel.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Hooker
      The works of nature do always aim at that which can not be bettered.
  4. (transitive) To give advantage to; to support; to advance the interest of.
    • (Can we date this quote?) John Milton
      Weapons more violent, when next we meet, / May serve to better us and worse our foes.
  5. (colloquial) Had better.
    You better do that if you know what's good for you.
Synonyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 3[edit]

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

Noun[edit]

better (plural betters)

  1. Alternative spelling of bettor

References[edit]

  • better at OneLook Dictionary Search
  • better in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911

Central Franconian[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old High German bittar

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

better (masculine bettere, feminine better, comparative betterer, superlative et betterste)

  1. (most dialects) bitter
    Mösse es e better Krock.
    To be obliged is a bitter herb. (A proverb.)

Scots[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

better

  1. comparative degree of guid

Derived terms[edit]

Adverb[edit]

better (comparative mair better, superlative maist better)

  1. better
  2. quite recovered from illness
  3. more than

Noun[edit]

better (uncountable)

  1. that which is better, something better or superior

Verb[edit]

better (third-person singular present betters, present participle betterin, past bettert, past participle bettert)

  1. to better, improve

West Frisian[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Frisian betera, from Proto-Germanic *batizô. Compare English better, Low German beter, Dutch beter, German besser, Danish bedre.

Adjective[edit]

better

  1. better