Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “better”

better

adverb     /ˈbet.ər/ US  /ˈbet̬.ɚ/
A2 in a more suitable, pleasing, or satisfactory way, or to a greater degree: The next time he took the test, he was better prepared. She did much better (= was more successful) in the second half of the match. I like this jacket much better than (= I prefer it to) the other one. She knows her way around the college better than I do.Good, better and bestInformal words for goodQuite good, or not very good to a greater degree, when used as the comparative of adjectives beginning with 'good' or 'well': She is better-looking (= more attractive) than her brother. He is much better known for his poetry than his songwriting.Good, better and bestInformal words for goodQuite good, or not very good better still (also even better) used to say that a particular choice would be more satisfactory: Why don't you give her a call or, better still, go and see her?Good, better and bestInformal words for goodQuite good, or not very good sb would do better UK it would be wiser: You would do better to bring the plants inside when the weather gets colder.Wise and sensible sb had better do sth A2 used to give advice or to make a threat: You'd better (= you should) go home now before the rain starts. He'd better pay me back that money he owes me soon, or else.Giving adviceDangers and threats Grammar:Had betterSee moreGrammar:Had better: form and meaningWe use had better to refer to the present or the future, to talk about actions we think people should do or which are desirable in a specific situation. The verb form is always had, not have. We normally shorten it to ’d better in informal situations. It is followed by the infinitive without to:See moreGrammar:Had better: negative and question formsThe negative of had better is had better not (or ’d better not):See moreGrammar:Had better or be better, be best?We use had better to give advice in a specific situation. We use the phrase be better or be best + to-infinitive for more general suggestions:See moreGrammar:Had better or would rather, would prefer?We don’t use had better when we talk about preferences. We use would rather or would prefer.See moreGrammar:Had better: typical errorsSee more
(Definition of better adverb from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of better

Definitions of “better” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

friendship

a situation in which two people are friends

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More