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bet·ter 1

adj. Comparative of good.
1. Greater in excellence or higher in quality: Which of the twins is the better skater?
2. More useful, suitable, or desirable: found a better way to go; a suit with a better fit than that one.
3. More highly skilled or adept: I am better at math than English.
4. Greater or larger: argued for the better part of an hour.
5. More advantageous or favorable; improved: a better chance of success.
6. Healthier, more fit, or in less discomfort than before: The patient is better today.
adv. Comparative of well2.
1. In a more excellent way: He sings better than his father.
a. To a greater extent or degree: better suited to the job; likes it better without sauce.
b. To greater advantage; preferably: a deed better left undone. See Usage Notes at best, have, rather.
3. More: It took me better than a year to recover.
1. One that is greater in excellence or higher in quality.
2. often betters A superior, as in standing, competence, or intelligence: to learn from one's betters.
v. bet·tered, bet·ter·ing, bet·ters
v. tr.
1. To make better; improve: trying to better conditions in the prison; bettered myself by changing jobs.
2. To surpass or exceed: practiced so he could better his rival.
v. intr.
To become better: Conditions bettered with time.
better off
In a better or more prosperous condition: would be better off taking the train instead of driving; felt better off after the rise in stock prices.
for the better
Resulting in or aiming at an improvement: Her condition took a turn for the better.
get (or have) the better of
To outdo or outwit; defeat.
think better of
To change one's mind about (a course of action) after reconsideration: I almost bought an expensive watch, but then I thought better of it.

[Middle English, from Old English betera; see bhad- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

bet·ter 2

Variant of bettor.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.bettering - changing for the betterbettering - changing for the better    
worsening - changing for the worse; "worried by the worsening storm"
References in classic literature ?
My hopes of being numbered in the band who have merged all ambitions in the glorious one of bettering their race--of carrying knowledge into the realms of ignorance--of substituting peace for war--freedom for bondage--religion for superstition--the hope of heaven for the fear of hell?
May he never leave us but to better himself, and may his success among us be such as to render his bettering himself impossible
As to the other sciences, inasmuch as these borrow their principles from philosophy, I judged that no solid superstructures could be reared on foundations so infirm; and neither the honor nor the gain held out by them was sufficient to determine me to their cultivation: for I was not, thank Heaven, in a condition which compelled me to make merchandise of science for the bettering of my fortune; and though I might not profess to scorn glory as a cynic, I yet made very slight account of that honor which I hoped to acquire only through fictitious titles.