• IPA: /ɪmˈpɹuːv/

improve (improves, present participle improving; past and past participle improved)

  1. (transitive) To make (something) better; to increase the value or productivity (of something).
    Painting the woodwork will improve this house.
    Buying more servers would improve performance.
  2. (intransitive) To become better.
    I have improved since taking the tablets.
    The error messages have improved since the last version, when they were incomprehensible.
    • 1908, W[illiam] B[lair] M[orton] Ferguson, chapter IV, in Zollenstein, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, OCLC 731476803 ↗:
      “My Continental prominence is improving,” I commented dryly. ¶ Von Lindowe cut at a furze bush with his silver-mounted rattan. ¶ “Quite so,” he said as dryly, his hand at his mustache. “I may say if your intentions were known your life would not be worth a curse.”
  3. (obsolete) To disprove or make void; to refute.
    • Neither can any of them make so strong a reason which another cannot improve.
  4. (obsolete) To disapprove of; to find fault with; to reprove; to censure.
    to improve negligence
    • When he rehearsed his preachings and his doing unto the high apostles, they could improve nothing.
  5. (dated) To use or employ to good purpose; to turn to profitable account.
    to improve one's time;  to improve his means
    • We shall especially honour God by improving diligently the talents which God hath committed to us.
    • 2020 August 21, Joseph Addison; Richard Steele, “FRIDAY, Error: invalid time,
      Error: invalid time [Julian calendar]”, in The Spectator, number 7 July 1711, London: J[acob] and R[ichard] Tonson, OCLC 1026609121 ↗; republished in Alexander Chalmers, editor, The Spectator; a New Edition, Carefully Revised, in Six Volumes: With Prefaces Historical and Biographical, volume 111, New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, 1853, OCLC 191120697 ↗:
a hint that I do not remember to have seen opened and improved
  • The court seldom fails to improve the opportunity.
  • How doth the little busy bee / Improve each shining hour.
  • True policy, as well as good faith, in my opinion, binds us to improve the occasion.
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