of superior quality or excellence:
a better coat; a better speech.
morally superior; more virtuous:
They are no better than thieves.
of superior suitability, advisability, desirability, acceptableness, etc.; preferable:
a better time for action.
larger; greater:
the better part of a lifetime.
improved in health; healthier than before.
completely recovered in health.
in a more appropriate or acceptable way or manner:
to behave better.
to a greater degree; more completely or thoroughly:
He knows the way better than we do. I probably know him better than anyone else.
I walked better than a mile to town.
to increase the good qualities of; make better; improve: to better one’s grades;
to better the lot of the suburban commuter.
to improve upon; surpass; exceed:
We have bettered last year’s production record.
Cards. to raise (a previous bid).
that which has greater excellence or is preferable or wiser:
the better of two choices.
Usually, betters. those superior to one in wisdom, wealth, etc.
better off,

in better circumstances.
more fortunate; happier:
Because of his asthma, he would be better off in a different climate.

better oneself, to improve one’s social standing, financial position, or education:
He is going to night school because he wants to better himself.
for the better, in a way that is an improvement:
His health changed for the better.
get / have the better of,

to get an advantage over.
to prevail against.

go (someone) one better, to exceed the effort of; be superior to:
The neighbors went us one better by buying two new cars.
had better, would be wiser or more well-advised to; ought to:
We had better stay indoors today.
no better than one should be, morally inferior; immoral or amoral:
Don’t speak to him; he’s no better than he should be!
think better of,

to reconsider and decide more favorably or wisely regarding:
I was tempted to make a sarcastic retort, but thought better of it.
to form a higher opinion of:
I think better of him now that he’s gone back to college.

Contemporary Examples

First Lady Arms Race Alisa Gould-Simon March 10, 2009
The Holes in Health Reform Conor Friedersdorf November 7, 2009
9/11: Nine Years Later The Daily Beast September 10, 2010

Historical Examples

The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
The Pigeon (Third Series Plays) John Galsworthy
The Principles of Economics Frank A. Fetter
The Crisis, Complete Winston Churchill
A Librarian’s Open Shelf Arthur E. Bostwick
Folly as It Flies Fanny Fern
Admiral Farragut A. T. Mahan

the comparative of good
more excellent than other members of a particular group, category, etc
more suitable, advantageous, attractive, etc
improved in health
fully recovered in health
in more favourable circumstances, esp financially
better off, in more favourable circumstances, esp financially
the better part of, a large part of: the better part of a day
the comparative of well1
in a more excellent manner; more advantageously, attractively, etc
in or to a greater degree or extent; more: she is better loved than her sister
(Brit intr; US transitive) go one better, to outdo (a person) or improve upon (someone else’s effort)
had better, would be wise, sensible, etc to: I had better be off
know better than to, not to be so stupid as to
think better of

to change one’s course of action after reconsideration
to rate (a person) more highly

the better, something that is the more excellent, useful, etc, of two such things
(usually pl) a person who is superior, esp in social standing or ability
all the better for, improved as a result of
all the better to, more suitable to
for better for worse, whatever the subsequent events or changes may be
for the better, by way of improvement: a change for the better
get the better of, to defeat, outwit, or surpass
(Irish) the better of, having recovered from: I’m not the better of it yet
to make or become better
(transitive) to improve upon; surpass
a person who bets

better half
better late than never
better off
better part of
better safe than sorry
better than


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