• WordNet 3.6
    • adj better (comparative and superlative of `well') wiser or more advantageous and hence advisable "it would be better to speak to him","the White House thought it best not to respond"
    • adj better (comparative of `good') superior to another (of the same class or set or kind) in excellence or quality or desirability or suitability; more highly skilled than another "You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din","a better coat","a better type of car","a suit with a better fit","a better chance of success","produced a better mousetrap","she's better in math than in history"
    • adj better (comparative of `good') changed for the better in health or fitness "her health is better now","I feel better"
    • adj better more than half "argued for the better part of an hour"
    • adv better comparative of `well'; in a better or more excellent manner or more advantageously or attractively or to a greater degree etc. "She had never sung better","a deed better left undone","better suited to the job"
    • adv better from a position of superiority or authority "father knows best","I know better."
    • v better get better "The weather improved toward evening"
    • v better to make better "The editor improved the manuscript with his changes"
    • v better surpass in excellence "She bettered her own record","break a record"
    • n better something superior in quality or condition or effect "a change for the better"
    • n better the superior one of two alternatives "chose the better of the two"
    • n better a superior person having claim to precedence "the common man has been kept in his place by his betters"
    • n better someone who bets
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

"Had You not Better Throw me into the Millstream?" "Had You not Better Throw me into the Millstream?"
You Better Call It a Draw 147 You Better Call It a Draw 147
You better take a fresh middle You better take a fresh middle

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Smiling releases endorphins in the body, which makes people feel better
    • Better Advantage, superiority, or victory; -- usually with of; as, to get the better of an enemy.
    • Better Greater in amount; larger; more.
    • Better Having good qualities in a greater degree than another; as, a better man; a better physician; a better house; a better air. "Could make the worse appear
      The better reason."
    • Better Improved in health; less affected with disease; as, the patient is better .
    • Better In a higher or greater degree; more; as, to love one better than another. "Never was monarch better feared, and loved."
    • Better In a superior or more excellent manner; with more skill and wisdom, courage, virtue, advantage, or success; as, Henry writes better than John; veterans fight better than recruits. "I could have better spared a better man."
    • Better More advanced; more perfect; as, upon better acquaintance; a better knowledge of the subject.
    • Better More correctly or thoroughly. "The better to understand the extent of our knowledge."
    • Better More, in reference to value, distance, time, etc.; as, ten miles and better .
    • n Better One who bets or lays a wager.
    • Better One who has a claim to precedence; a superior, as in merit, social standing, etc.; -- usually in the plural. "Their betters would hardly be found."
    • Better Preferable in regard to rank, value, use, fitness, acceptableness, safety, or in any other respect. "To obey is better than sacrifice.""It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes."
    • v. i Better To become better; to improve.
    • Better To give advantage to; to support; to advance the interest of. "Weapons more violent, when next we meet,
      May serve to better us and worse our foes."
    • Better To improve or ameliorate; to increase the good qualities of. "Love betters what is best.""He thought to better his circumstances."
    • Better To improve the condition of, morally, physically, financially, socially, or otherwise. "The constant effort of every man to better himself."
    • Better To surpass in excellence; to exceed; to excel. "The works of nature do always aim at that which can not be bettered ."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Researches have discovered that eating five or more apples a week is linked to better functioning of the lungs
    • better As comparative of good: Of superior quality or excellence, whether personal, physical, mental, moral, or social, essential or acquired: as, he is a better man than his brother; better times are at hand; a better position.
    • better Of superior value, use, fitness, acceptableness, etc.; more profitable or suitable for a purpose; more useful, eligible, or desirable: as, copper is a better conductor than iron.
    • better Larger; greater: as, the better part of a day was spent in shopping.
    • better As comparative of well: More in accordance with one's wish or desire; more satisfactory.
    • better More healthy; having sounder health.
    • better More just, right, or proper.
    • better To be quite well again; be fully recovered.
    • n better That which has superior excellence; that which is better.
    • n better A superior; one who has a claim to precedence on account of rank, age, merit, skill, power, or office: as, give place to your betters.
    • n better Advantage; superiority; victory: chiefly in the phrases to get, gain, or have the better of (a person or thing).
    • better In a more excellent way or manner: as, to behave better; the land is better cultivated and the government better administered.
    • better In a superior degree: as, to know a man better than some one else knows him.
    • better More, without any idea of superior excellence: as, it is better than a mile to the town.
    • better To make better; improve; ameliorate; increase the good qualities of; as, manure betters land; discipline may better the morals.
    • better To improve upon; surpass; exceed; outdo.
    • better To advance the interest of; support; give advantage to.
    • better Synonyms Amend, Improve, Better, etc. (see amend), meliorate, promote.
    • better To grow better; become better; improve: as, his condition is bettering.
    • n better One who lays bets or wagers. Also bettor.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Men can read smaller print than women; women can hear better
    • ns Better one who bets—also Bet′tor
    • adj Better bet′ėr (serves as comp. of Good) good in a greater degree: preferable: improved: more suitable: larger: kinder: stronger in health
    • adv Better comp. of Well) well in a greater degree: more fully or completely: over or more than: with greater advantage: (pl.) superiors
    • v.t Better to make better (also reflexively, to better one's self), to improve: to benefit: also with intransitive sense, to grow better
    • ***


  • Konstantin Stanislavisky
    Konstantin Stanislavisky
    “Unless the theatre can ennoble you, make you a better person, you should flee from it.”
  • Robert H. Schuller
    “Better to do something imperfectly than to do nothing perfectly.”
  • Source Unknown
    Source Unknown
    “Better to try something and fail than to try nothing and succeed.”
  • George Whitefield
    George Whitefield
    “It is better to rust out than wear out.”
  • May L. Becker
    May L. Becker
    “We grow neither better or worse as we get old, but more like ourselves.”
  • Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton
    “When a person is down in the world, an ounce of help is better than a pound of preaching.”


Better be the head of a dog than the tail of a lion - This means that it is better to be the head or at the top of something that isn't very important or prestigious than a small or unimportant member of something big.
Better half - Your better half is your husband or wife.
Better late than never - This idiom suggests that doing something late is better than not doing it at all.
Better safe than sorry - This idiom is used to recommend being cautious rather than taking a risk.
Better than a kick in the teeth - If something is better than a kick in the teeth, it isn't very good, but it is better than nothing.
Better than a stick in the eye - If something is better than a stick in the eye, it isn't very good, but it is better than nothing.
Better the devil you know - This is the shortened form of the full idiom, 'better the devil you know than the devil you don't', and means that it is often better to deal with someone or something you are familiar with and know, even if they are not ideal, than take a risk with an unknown person or thing.
Discretion is the better part of valour - This idiom means that it is often better to think carefully and not act than to do something that may cause problems.
Half a loaf is better than no bread - It means that getting part of what you want is better than getting nothing at all.
If you can't run with the big dogs, you'd better stay on the porch - If you can't keep up with what others are doing, then it is best not to attempt it.
Make a better fist - If someone makes a better fist of doing something, they do a better job.
Seen better days - If something's seen better days, it has aged badly and visibly compared to when it was new. The phrase can also be used to describe people.
Two heads are better than one - When two people work together more things get accomplished.


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. betere, bettre, and as adv. bet, AS. betera, adj., and bet, adv.; akin to Icel. betri, adj., betr, adv., Goth. batiza, adj., OHG. bezziro, adj., baz, adv., G. besser, adj. and adv., bass, adv., E. boot, and prob. to Skr. bhadra, excellent. See Boot advantage, and cf. Best Batful


In literature:

Why you are saying to yourself all the time that you know better than I.
"Jack at Sea" by George Manville Fenn
She works better, sings better and is better.
"Searchlights on Health: Light on Dark Corners" by B.G. Jefferis
I really think we had better go, my darling tabby.
"Out in the Forty-Five" by Emily Sarah Holt
Would it not be better for them, better for the interests of them both, that they should be separated?
"Miss Mackenzie" by Anthony Trollope
I looked in as I came; and her child is in want of better food, better cooked, than she is able to give him.
"Deerbrook" by Harriet Martineau
Now that you know what we want, we had better separate.
"Chatterbox, 1906" by Various
It was better, much better.
"Floyd Grandon's Honor" by Amanda Minnie Douglas
You know better; I know better.
"A Report of the Debates and Proceedings in the Secret Sessions of the Conference Convention" by Lucius Eugene Chittenden
I didn't go for better because I was doing better.
"Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States from Interviews with Former Slaves, Arkansas Narratives, Part 4" by Work Projects Administration
If you can't show us a better way you had better hold your tongue.
"The Peril Finders" by George Manville Fenn

In poetry:

And, when he talks sense,
Relations say,
"Better let Father
Haye his way."
"Old Man Hoppergrass" by Stephen Vincent Benet
"I got no riches.
I died a debtor.
I died free-hearted
And that was better.
"Thomas Jefferson" by Stephen Vincent Benet
The future, the future just
Over the way,
Is patiently looking for
A better day.
"Industry in Children. Proverb 22:6" by Frank Barbour Coffin
Till sometimes it did seem
Better it were
Never to see you more
Than linger here
"No One So Much As You" by Edward Thomas
And I'd be better dying,
And I am slow and sad;
A fool I am, a-crying
About a tender lad!
"The Trusting Heart" by Dorothy Parker
Merry, merry Christmas,
Better gifts than gold;
Merry, merry Christmas
To the young and old.
"A Christmas Chant" by Abram Joseph Ryan

In news:

Who better than Better Than Ezra to do a tribute to LSU football.
Thievery Corporation's Eric Hilton says D.C.'s arts scene "has gotten better, but honestly Baltimore has a way better arts scene and a way better music scene".
Pumping iron, running, and working towards getting in better and better shape.
For years, cars have been doing better and better in crash tests.
Biologists seem to be getting a better handle on what it takes to produce even better fishing.
Ten years after American involvement in Afghanistan, life there "isn't just better – it's much better," Charles Kenny says in Foreign Policy.
Better than anything else that i\'ve tried EXCEPT ICE CREAM ICE CREAM MIGHT BE BETTER.
An upgrade water heater will have better heating elements, in the case of electric water heaters , or better burners, in gas water heaters .
Christen Press knows that better than she might like, as a part of two Stanford women's soccer teams that reached the national championship game unbeaten, only to fall against teams that played better on those particular days.
"Making the right hire is better than the quickest hire , but admittedly sooner is better if possible.".
The lineup for the 2012 Iceland Airwaves festival just keeps getting better and better.
We've got to put a better product on the field, especially a better one than we saw Sunday.
This just gets better and better.
"Better sells better," he told them.
COLOR ink-jet printers keep getting better and better.

In science:

In the light of pair approximation [see Eq. (3)] better and better agreement is expected when increasing z .
Branching annihilating random walk on random regular graphs
Mostly because of the better imaging quality, ISO sensitivity limits in the mid-IR are 1000 times better than at the long wavelengths (0.1 mJy versus 100 mJy).
High-Redshift Galaxies: The Far-Infrared and Sub-Millimeter View
Realistic simulations of galaxy formation require spatial resolution better than 1 kpc and mass resolution better than 106 M⊙ in volumes at least 100 Mpc across containing more than 1017 M⊙ .
Multiscale Gaussian Random Fields for Cosmological Simulations
The struggle to develop better and better random number generators and the simultaneous efforts to unravel the hidden order in the pseudo random numbers generated, constitute an exciting and continuing enterprise, see for example .
Monte Carlo: Basics
It is clear that this algorithm (”learning with full memory”) should perform better than the memoryless learner algorithm described in the last section, but how much better? Since the analysis is quite simple, we present it here.
Mathematics of learning