Ahh, the subtleties of the English language.

Webster_1913's definition is somewhat incomplete, even though a recent version of the same dictionary has the same definition. I will attempt to remedy this.

Ameliorate is used exclusively to describe the effects of an action rendering an intolerable situation tolerable. A good synonym would be "ease".

Thus, one would not say: "My $500 winning lottery ticket ameliorated my bank account, which had plenty of money in it already."

One might say, however: "My $500 winning lottery ticket ameliorated a situation with my landlord, who was ready to evict me for nonpayment."

However, do *not* use "ameliorate" if an action removes the problem entirely. In that case, use "remedy" or "fix".

A*mel"io*rate (#), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Ameliorated (#); p. pr. & vb. n. Ameliorating.] [L. ad + meliorare to make better: cf. F. am'eliorer. See Meliorate.]

To make better; to improve; to meliorate.

In every human being there is a wish to ameliorate his own condition. Macaulay.

 

© Webster 1913.


A*mel"io*rate, v. i.

To grow better; to meliorate; as, wine ameliorates by age.

 

© Webster 1913.

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