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Collins Cobuild Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary
  • Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary offers learners of English detailed coverage of today’s language. Written in simple, natural English, this dictionary is exceptionally easy to use and understand. The examples, which have all been taken from the Bank of English®, part of the prestigious Collins Word Web, are invaluable in providing context for words and phrases. The user will also have quick and easy access to grammatical information and additional information on synonyms, pragmatics and frequency. Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary - the complete reference tool for learners of English. Bank of English® is a registered trademark of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.

better

[be̱tə(r)]

betters, bettering, bettered

  1. Better is the comparative of good.

  2. Better is the comparative of well.

  3. ADV-COMPAR: ADV after v If you like one thing better than another, you like it more.

  4. ADJ-GRADED: v-link ADJ If you are better after an illness or injury, you have recovered from it. If you feel better, you no longer feel so ill.

  5. PHR-MODAL You use had better or 'd better when you are advising, warning, or threatening someone, or expressing an opinion about what should happen.

  6. PRON If you say that you expect or deserve better, you mean that you expect or deserve a higher standard of achievement, behaviour, or treatment from people than they have shown you.

  7. N-PLURAL: poss N Your betters are people who have a higher status or rank than you do. [HUMOROUS, OLD-FASHIONED]

  8. VERB If someone betters a high achievement or standard, they achieve something higher.

  9. VERB If you better your situation, you improve your social status or the quality of your life. If you better yourself, you improve your social status.

  10. Better is used to form the comparative of compound adjectives beginning with `good' and `well.' For example, the comparative of `well-off' is `better-off.'

  11. PHRASE: V inflects, PHR -ing, PHR -ed You can say that someone is better doing one thing than another, or it is better doing one thing than another to advise someone about what they should do.

  12. PHRASE: PHR after v If something changes for the better, it improves.

  13. PHRASE: V inflects, PHR n If a feeling such as jealousy, curiosity, or anger gets the better of you, it becomes too strong for you to hide or control.

  14. PHRASE: V inflects, PHR n If you get the better of someone, you defeat them in a contest, fight, or argument.

  15. PHRASE: V inflects, oft PHR than to-inf If someone knows better than to do something, they are old enough or experienced enough to know it is the wrong thing to do.

  16. PHRASE: V inflects, oft PHR than n If you know better than someone, you have more information, knowledge, or experience than them.

  17. PHRASE: PHR -ing/prep/adv If you say that someone would be better off doing something, you are advising them to do it or expressing the opinion that it would benefit them to do it.

  18. PHRASE: V inflects, oft PHR than n If you go one better, you do something better than it has been done before or obtain something better than someone else has.

  19. CONVENTION You say `That's better' in order to express your approval of what someone has said or done, or to praise or encourage them.

  20. PHRASE You can say `so much the better' or `all the better' to indicate that it is desirable that a particular thing is used, done, or available.

  21. PHRASE You can use expressions like `The bigger the better' or `The sooner the better' to say that you would prefer it if something is big or happens soon.

  22. PHRASE: PHR to-inf If you do something the better to do something else, you do the first thing in order to be able to do the second thing more effectively. [mainly WRITTEN]

  23. PHRASE: V inflects If you intend to do something and then think better of it, you decide not to do it because you realize it would not be sensible.

  24. PHRASE: PHR after v, PHR with cl If you say that something has happened or been done for better or worse, you mean that you are not sure whether the consequences will be good or bad, but they will have to be accepted because the action cannot be changed.

  25. better the devil you know see devil

    discretion is the better part of valour see discretion

    your better half see half

    against your better judgement see judgement

    be better than nothing see nothing

    the better part see part

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better1/26
be̱tə(r)Better is the comparative of good.

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Word forms

well

adjective
Positive degreewell
Comparative degreebetter
Superlative degreebest

good

adjective
Positive degreegood
Comparative degreebetter
Superlative degreebest

better

noun
SingularPlural
Common casebetterbetters
Possessive casebetter'sbetters'

well

adverb
Positive degreewell
Comparative degreebetter
Superlative degreebest

better

verb
Basic forms
Pastbettered
Imperativebetter
Present Participle (Participle I)bettering
Past Participle (Participle II)bettered
Present Indefinite, Active Voice
I betterwe better
you betteryou better
he/she/it bettersthey better
Present Continuous, Active Voice
I am betteringwe are bettering
you are betteringyou are bettering
he/she/it is betteringthey are bettering
Present Perfect, Active Voice
I have betteredwe have bettered
you have betteredyou have bettered
he/she/it has betteredthey have bettered
Present Perfect Continuous, Active Voice
I have been betteringwe have been bettering
you have been betteringyou have been bettering
he/she/it has been betteringthey have been bettering
Past Indefinite, Active Voice
I betteredwe bettered
you betteredyou bettered
he/she/it betteredthey bettered
Past Continuous, Active Voice
I was betteringwe were bettering
you were betteringyou were bettering
he/she/it was betteringthey were bettering
Past Perfect, Active Voice
I had betteredwe had bettered
you had betteredyou had bettered
he/she/it had betteredthey had bettered
Past Perfect Continuous, Active Voice
I had been betteringwe had been bettering
you had been betteringyou had been bettering
he/she/it had been betteringthey had been bettering
Future Indefinite, Active Voice
I shall/will betterwe shall/will better
you will betteryou will better
he/she/it will betterthey will better
Future Continuous, Active Voice
I shall/will be betteringwe shall/will be bettering
you will be betteringyou will be bettering
he/she/it will be betteringthey will be bettering
Future Perfect, Active Voice
I shall/will have betteredwe shall/will have bettered
you will have betteredyou will have bettered
he/she/it will have betteredthey will have bettered
Future Perfect Continuous, Active Voice
I shall/will have been betteringwe shall/will have been bettering
you will have been betteringyou will have been bettering
he/she/it will have been betteringthey will have been bettering
Future in the Past Indefinite, Active Voice
I should/would betterwe should/would better
you would betteryou would better
he/she/it would betterthey would better
Future in the Past Continuous, Active Voice
I should/would be betteringwe should/would be bettering
you would be betteringyou would be bettering
he/she/it would be betteringthey would be bettering
Future in the Past Perfect, Active Voice
I should/would have betteredwe should/would have bettered
you would have betteredyou would have bettered
he/she/it would have betteredthey would have bettered
Future in the Past Perfect Continuous, Active Voice
I should/would have been betteringwe should/would have been bettering
you would have been betteringyou would have been bettering
he/she/it would have been betteringthey would have been bettering
Present Indefinite, Passive Voice
I am betteredwe are bettered
you are betteredyou are bettered
he/she/it is betteredthey are bettered
Present Continuous, Passive Voice
I am being betteredwe are being bettered
you are being betteredyou are being bettered
he/she/it is being betteredthey are being bettered
Present Perfect, Passive Voice
I have been betteredwe have been bettered
you have been betteredyou have been bettered
he/she/it has been betteredthey have been bettered
Past Indefinite, Passive Voice
I was betteredwe were bettered
you were betteredyou were bettered
he/she/it was betteredthey were bettered
Past Continuous, Passive Voice
I was being betteredwe were being bettered
you were being betteredyou were being bettered
he/she/it was being betteredthey were being bettered
Past Perfect, Passive Voice
I had been betteredwe had been bettered
you had been betteredyou had been bettered
he/she/it had been betteredthey had been bettered
Future Indefinite, Passive Voice
I shall/will be betteredwe shall/will be bettered
you will be betteredyou will be bettered
he/she/it will be betteredthey will be bettered
Future Perfect, Passive Voice
I shall/will have been betteredwe shall/will have been bettered
you will have been betteredyou will have been bettered
he/she/it will have been betteredthey will have been bettered