MELIORATION, also amelioration. A process of SEMANTIC CHANGE in which there is an improvement or ‘upward’ shift in the meaning of a word: for example, nice has meant foolish, stupid (13–16c), lascivious, loose (14–16c), extravagant, elegant, rare, strange (15–16c), effeminate, shy, tender, slender, delicate, unimportant (16–17c), over-refined (17–18c), careful, precise, intricate, difficult, fastidious (16–19c), dainty, appetizing (18–19c), refined, cultured, discriminating (17–20c), and agreeable, pleasant (18–20c). See PEJORATION.
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