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), bót (improvement), German besser. 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.”
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Adverb[edit]

better

  1. comparative form of well: more well
    The engine runs better now that I've given it some oil.
  2. Greater or lesser (whichever is seen as more advantageous), in reference to value, distance, time, etc.
    The top electric vehicles have a range of 300 kilometres or better. (better = greater)
    Only one swimmer finished the race with a time better than two minutes. (better = lesser)
  3. (Can we clean up(+) this sense?) (colloquial shortening) Had better.
    You better do that if you know what's good for you.
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.
    • 1594, Richard Hooker, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie
      Their betters would hardly be found.
Derived terms[edit]

Etymology 2[edit]

Shortening of had better ('d better)

Verb[edit]

better

  1. (modal, auxiliary verb, colloquial) Had better.
    It's getting late. You better get on home.
Usage notes[edit]
  • Better in this sense has often been considered an adverb. But it is virtually synonymous with should in We better be going. and with ought to in We better go. Should and ought are auxiliary verbs.

See also[edit]

Etymology 3[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.
  2. (intransitive) To become better; to improve.
    This government will better this society
  3. (transitive) To surpass in excellence; to exceed; to excel.
    • 1594, Richard Hooker, Of the Lawes of Ecclesiastical Politie
      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.
Synonyms[edit]
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]

Etymology 4[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, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 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
    Proverb:
    Mösse es e better Krock.To be obliged is a bitter herb.

Middle English[edit]

Etymology 1[edit]

From Old English betere.

Adjective[edit]

better

  1. Alternative form of bettre

Adverb[edit]

better

  1. Alternative form of bettre

Noun[edit]

better

  1. Alternative form of bettre

Etymology 2[edit]

From Old English beterian.

Verb[edit]

better

  1. Alternative form of beteren

Scots[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English bettre, from Old English betera, from Proto-Germanic *batizô.

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]

Adjective[edit]

better

  1. inflection of goed:
    1. predicative comparative degree
    2. indefinite neuter singular comparative degree