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Meliorate it Options
srirr
Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2018 6:10:20 AM

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I often wonder whether 'meliorate' and 'ameliorate' are same. Are they variants of each other? Or is there any difference in connotation and/ or usage?Think

What's your point of view?


We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. ~ Swami Vivekanand
BobShilling
Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2018 6:40:43 AM
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A search of several online dictionaries suggests that they are variants of the same word. This Ngram shows that 'ameliorate' is much more common. I have never heard or seen 'meliorate' used.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2018 7:10:19 AM

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Hi srirr.

As far as I can see they are the same.
"Ameliorate" is not exactly a 'common English word' - you may see it in medical texts or from some management speaker trying to be posh, but don't expect you local shopkeeper to use it.

I have never heard of 'meliorate' - or, if I have, I have assumed it was just someone pronouncing 'ameliorate' lazily.

Very likely, the version one uses depends on the other (foreign) languages known or used locally.

In areas with a French influence (southern England for example) you would hear 'ameliorate' - like the French verb améliorer, "to perfect or remedy".

In the southern USA, I would expect "meliorate" - like the Spanish verb mejorar, mejorarse "to improve".

According to the Collins Dictionary, the etymology is from Latin melior (adjective - 'better'), influenced by Old French ameillorer (verb, 'to make better').

I just noticed. The Collins English Dictionary says that "meliorate" is an alteration of "ameliorate".
The American Heritage says that "ameliorate" is an alteration of 'meliorate'.

According to the n-gram viewer, they are both very rare (compared to 'improve').


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
thar
Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2018 9:18:24 AM

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I too would say ameliorate. (Except I wouldn't, I would say 'improive' or 'better'.) But a perfectly good word, in formal settings.

The 'a' is just 'to/towards' in Latin/French. - better vs towards better.

Like alleviate - towards lightness


As you say, it seems to be a geographical thing -

Late Latin, as spoken as a foreign languages around the Roman Empire, in places such as Spain, has the verb mellioro.

Old French included the preposition 'a' - ameillorer.


The Cambridge English online dictionary lists ameliorate but doesn't recognise meliorate.
But others do, clearly.
No difference in meaning, but maybe in regional use.


Also maybe some confusion with mitigate, which is often misused, it seems to me?
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2018 11:02:29 AM

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Yes - Collins have a little note on one misuse, but "mitigate" (reduce the severity of) is not the same as "ameliorate".
There are also usage notes showing the mix-ups between "ameliorate", "alleviate", "meliorate", Mitigate" and "militate":
Quote:
Usage: Ameliorate is often wrongly used where alleviate is meant. Ameliorate is properly used to mean 'improve', not 'make easier to bear', so one should talk about alleviating pain or hardship, not ameliorating it.


I still prefer 'improve'.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
Çağrıhan
Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2018 11:20:52 AM
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I think both are the same.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2018 11:33:30 AM

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Çağrıhan wrote:
I think both are the same.


Hello Çağrıhan.
Welcome to the forum.

I think you are correct!


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
NKM
Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2018 1:27:28 PM

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I've never before heard of "meliorate"; if I heard it, I should simply assume it to be a variant (intentional or not) of "ameliorate".

srirr
Posted: Friday, May 18, 2018 12:57:26 AM

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Thanks All. I had come across the word ameliorate some years back while reading the script of a book. I liked the word and later noticed that meliorate can also be used. But I could never verify their popularity or frequency of usage. Of course, using 'improve' or 'better' (as verb) can be common, but in some formal writings, I tend to use these words.


We are responsible for what we are, and whatever we wish ourselves to be, we have the power to make ourselves. ~ Swami Vivekanand
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