May 02, 2013
ameliorate (verb)
\uh-MEE-lee-uh-rayt\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: to make or grow better or more tolerable
How do you use it?
Anthony volunteers for an after-school program designed to ameliorate the hardships of underprivileged children.
Are you a word wiz?

Which of these sentences do you think uses "ameliorate" correctly?

If you picked D, your vocabulary is getting better. Since "ameliorate" implies making a bad situation or condition (such as tension among friends) more tolerable, Sara's apology in D fits the bill perfectly. Another word that would fit in this sentence is "meliorate." Though not as common, "meliorate" is not only a synonym of "ameliorate," but is also its parent word. "Ameliorate" was coined in the mid-18th century as an alteration of "meliorate," a word from the 16th century that also means "to make or grow better." "Meliorate" traces back to the Latin word "melior," meaning "better."
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