1 adjective (comparative of good)
1 more useful, interesting, satisfactory, effective, suitable etc: Your stereo is better than mine. | a better job with a better salary | It was one of the better Broadway shows I've seen. | There must be a better way to do this. | a better-quality car | much better/far better/a lot better: It's a much better quality design than the previous model.
2 (comparative of well)
a) more healthy or less ill or painful than before: She is a little better today, the doctor says. | I'm feeling much better, thank you. | feel better for (=feel better as a result of): Go for a walk - you'll feel better for getting some fresh air.
-see graph at improve
b) completely well again after an illness: When you're better we can see about planning a trip.
3 get better
a) to improve: If the weather gets better we could go out for a walk. | Her English isn't really getting any better.
b) to recover from an illness or accident: Are you hungry Sally? I think you must be getting better.
4 have seen better days informal to be in a bad condition: The sofa has seen better days but the chairs are still okay.
5 be no better than to be almost as bad as: He's no better than a thief.
6 better still used to say that something is even better than the first thing you mentioned: Go for a walk around the building, or better still around the block.
7 against your better judgment if you do something against your better judgment, you do it even though you think it may not be sensible: Against our better judgment, we allowed her to stay.
8 sb's better nature the part of someone's character that makes them want to be kind and generous, treat people well, etc: He's become a lot nicer recently. I think she's brought out his better nature.
-see also: your better half/other half half 1 (9) best/better part of part 1 (6), -opposite worse 1
9 sb had better
a) used to give advice about what someone should do: She'd better see a doctor if it gets any worse.
b) used to threaten someone: You'd better keep your mouth shut about this.
10 that's better
a) used to praise or encourage someone: Try hitting the ball higher. That's better!
b) used when trying to comfort someone or make them feel less upset: Come on, give me a hug. There, that's better, isn't it?.
11 better used to say that you or someone else should do something: Better go and phone her to check she's in.
12 you'd be better/it would be better to do sth used to suggest that someone should do one thing rather than another: It would be better to install a shower rather than a bath.
13 better luck next time used to encourage someone who has done badly in an examination, competition etc
14 you'd be better off used when suggesting that someone should do something differently or change their situation: Believe me, you'd be better off without him, you really would!
15 what could be better...?/there's nothing better used to say that something is perfect: Three weeks in the sun with nothing to do. What could be better? | There's nothing better than a hot shower in the morning.
16 is that better? used to ask someone if they are happier with something after you have changed it: I'll put some more sugar in. There, is that better?
17 it's better than doing sth used to say that although your situation is not good, it is better than another situation: Maybe I'm not well paid, but it's better than being out of a job.
18 better late than never used to say that even if something happens late or someone arrives late, this is better than it not happening at all
19 better the devil you know used to say that something bad that you know about is better than something bad you know nothing about
2 adverb (comparative of well)
1 in a better way: He can speak French a lot better than I can. | Your bike will run better if you oil it. | The private schools tend to be better equipped.
2 to a higher degree; more: She knows this town better than you do. | I think I like the red one better. | Potter is better known for his TV work.
3 do better to perform better or reach a higher standard: You'd do better if you practised more. | We did better than all the other schools.
4 the sooner the better/the later the better etc used to emphasize that you would prefer something to happen as soon as possible, as late as possible etc: School finishes at the end of the week, and the sooner the better as far as I'm concerned.
5 the bigger the better/the faster the better etc used to emphasize that you want something to be as big as possible, as fast as possible etc: "Do you want me to bring a bottle of wine?" "Sure - the more the better!"
6 better off richer than you were before: Today's pensioners are better off than they used to be. | The average taxpayer will be $80 better off as a result of these changes.
7 go one better (than) informal to do something more successfully than someone else: That was a good story but I can go one better.
-compare worse 3 3 noun
1 the better used to mean the one that is better when you are comparing two similar people or things: It's hard to decide which one's the better.
2 get the better of
a) if your feelings or wishes get the better of you, they make you behave in a way you would not normally behave: My curiosity finally got the better of me and I opened the letter. | I think her nerves got the better of her.
b) to defeat someone or deal successfully with a problem
3 for the better in a way that improves the situation: a definite change for the better | take a turn for the better (=improve): The President's fortunes seem, at last, to have taken a turn for the better.
4 be all the better for especially spoken to be improved by a particular action, change etc: I think it's all the better for that extra ten minutes' cooking.
5 so much the better used to say that something would be even better or bring even more advantages: They usually cost about $50, but if you can get one for less, then so much the better.
6 for better or (for) worse used to say that something must be accepted, whether the results will be good or bad, because it cannot be changed: This type of farming is, for better or worse, rapidly dying out.
7 your betters old-fashioned people who are more important than you or deserve more respect
-compare worse 2, -see also: elders and betters elder 2 (4) 4 verb (T)
1 to be better than something in quality, amount etc: His total of five gold medals is unlikely to be bettered.
2 better yourself to improve your position in society by getting a better education or earning more money
3 formal to improve something: bettering the lot of the working classes

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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  • Better — Bet ter, a.; compar. of Good. [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 …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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