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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: How could you ameliorate a bad situation?

  • You could suffer from its effects.
  • You could investigate how bad it is.
  • You could be part of an effective solution.

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
  • An unemployment crisis is coming fast, and it will be worse than anything we’ve seen in a generation. But with decisive, bold action, we can ameliorate the economic damage to families. —USA Today
  • Results from a new study may lead to approval of what could be the first drug that ameliorates potentially deadly reactions in children with severe peanut allergies. —The New York Times

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