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Alternative forms[edit]


From Anglo-Norman emprouwer, from Old French en- + prou (profit), from Vulgar Latin prode (advantageous, profitable).


  • IPA(key): /ɪmˈpɹuːv/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -uːv


improve (third-person singular simple present improves, present participle improving, simple past and past participle improved)

  1. (transitive) To make (something) better; to increase the value or productivity (of something).
    Painting the woodwork will improve this house.
    Buying more servers would improve performance.
    • 2013 June 22, “Engineers of a different kind”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8841, page 70:
      Private-equity nabobs bristle at being dubbed mere financiers. Piling debt onto companies’ balance-sheets is only a small part of what leveraged buy-outs are about, they insist. Improving the workings of the businesses they take over is just as core to their calling, if not more so. Much of their pleading is public-relations bluster.
  2. (intransitive) To become better.
    I have improved since taking the tablets.
    The error messages have improved since the last version, when they were incomprehensible.
    • 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, chapter IV, in Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, →OCLC, page 41:
      “My Continental prominence is improving,” I commented dryly. Von Lindowe cut at a furze bush with his silver-mounted rattan. “Quite so,” he said as dryly, his hand at his mustache. “I may say if your intentions were known your life would not be worth a curse.”
  3. (obsolete) To disprove or make void; to refute.
  4. (obsolete) To disapprove of; to find fault with; to reprove; to censure.
  5. (dated) To use or employ to good purpose; to turn to profitable account.
    to improve one's time;  to improve his means



Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Further reading[edit]

  • "improve" in Raymond Williams, Keywords (revised), 1983, Fontana Press, page 160.