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  • Verb

ameliorate

uh-MEEL-yuh-rayt

Context
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By finding a part-time job, Susan was able to ameliorate, or improve, her household’s poor financial situation. The knowledge that she would finally be able to afford food for her family ameliorated or relieved Susan’s sadness. Susan’s best friend Emily had helped ameliorate or relieve some of her financial distress when she had been unemployed—a friend in need is a friend indeed.

Quiz: What does it mean to ameliorate a bad situation?

  • To suffer from its effects.
  • To make it better.
  • To investigate how bad it is.

Memory Hook
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Amelia's Test Overrated I have decided to rate Amelia's test an A instead of a D, which will certainly ameliorate her low grade, but perhaps will lower my professional self-esteem.

Examples
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  • Other recent studies have hinted that omega-3 fatty acids may also help protect against diabetes and cancer, slow the progression of early Alzheimer’s disease, and perhaps ameliorate depression and other mental disorders, including attention-deficit disorder in children. —The Washington Post
  • Rather than block it, governments need to try to ameliorate the pains which change inflicts by, for example, retraining or temporarily helping those workers who lose their jobs. —The Economist
  • The company says that proper distance from the microphone will ameliorate most voice recognition problems, but one interview suggests that they know very well the machine can’t handle the word 'blue.' —USA Today
  • Understanding urban health variations and developing viable strategies to ameliorate inequalities in today’s highly urbanized and developed societies, therefore, will have invaluable future implications for the currently less developed but rapidly industrializing and urbanizing societies. —BNET

Word Ingredients
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a- to, towards, near
melior better
-ate to make something have a certain quality

To make a situation go “nearer the better” or “towards the better” is to ameliorate it.

Word Constellation
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Ameliorate