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(v) to make something bad become worse, especially a situation or a medical condition: His headache was aggravated by all the noise.
(v) to achieve a better result than someone or something: Bradman's average score of 96 has never been bettered.
(v) to improve something: It's an important step towards bettering relations between the two countries.
(n) a mark or spot that spoils the appearance of something: The painting was spoiled for me by a blemish on the frame.
(n) a situation in which everything is confused and in a mess: There have been severe floods, bringing chaos to the region.
(v) to make someone or something seem less valuable or respected: This type of advertising cheapens the image of the brand.
(v) to make something dirty, polluted or poisonous by adding a chemical, waste or infection: Industrial sewage continues to contaminate our beaches.
(v) to make or become gradually worse in quality, or weaker in power or influence: Too much sugar will decay your teeth.
(v) to become less or worse: The number of people buying their own homes has declined.
(adj) not made correctly or not working correctly: The car was found to have defective brakes.
(adj) harmful or damaging: Overexposure to sunlight can have a detrimental effect on the skin.
(v) to seriously damage or completely destroy something: Western India was devastated by a huge earthquake.
(v) to make someone feel very shocked and upset: Mary's sisters were devastated by her disappearance.
(v) to improve something, or make it more attractive or more valuable: The measures taken should considerably enhance the residents' quality of life.
(v) to think carefully about something before making a judgment about its value, importance or quality: The performance of each employee is evaluated once a year.
(v) to make a problem become worse: Complaining will only exacerbate an already difficult situation.
(adj) extremely beautiful and delicate: It was an exquisite hand-painted vase from China.
(adj) of the highest quality: The service is first-rate.
(n) a mistake or fault in something that makes it useless, less effective or less beautiful: There are serious flaws in the way we train our teachers.
adj) of the best or most suitable type: The fair provides an ideal opportunity for job seekers and employers to meet.
(adj) as good as you can imagine, and probably too good to be real: In an ideal world there would be no poverty.
(adj) not enough or not good enough for a particular purpose: We are trying to provide basic education with inadequate resources.
(adj) extremely useful: The Internet is an invaluable resource for students.
(adj) best or most suitable within a range of possibilities: The warm water provides the optimum conditions for breeding.
(n) the best or most suitable situation, Level or amount: The optimum we should be producing is 100 units per hour.
(v) to be much better than someone or something else: The team was completely outclassed by the opposition.
(adj) most important, most suitable or of the highest quality: Our prime concern was the safety of our customers.
(n phr) a positive quality which improves something that is not very good by including something that is good: Smith’s only redeeming feature is that he knows his job.
(v) to improve a room or a building by cleaning and painting it, adding new furniture or equipment, etc: They're planning to refurbish the teachers' room.
(v) to make an idea, belief or feeling stronger: The latest figures reinforce the view that economic growth is slowing.
(v) to make a building, structure or object stronger: Crews started work today to reinforce the seriously damaged bridge.
(v) to make something old look new again by repairing and improving it, especially a building: The council's planning to renovate the old fire station.
(adj) something that is rotten has decayed: There was a horrible smell of rotten eggs.
(adj) of a low quality, standard or ability: She's a rotten singer.
(adj) a rusty metal object is covered in rust: I don't know why you bought that rusty old car.
(adj) good enough to be accepted in a particular situation: I have stiff not received a satisfactory answer to my question.
(adj) enjoyable and pleasing: This new arrangement proved highly satisfactory to us all.
(n) something that is very badly organised and does not operate effectively: Government corruption has left the economy in a shambles.
(adj) shoddy work, services or products are of a very low standard: The work they did on the new road was very shoddy in places.
(adj) involving the use of good judgment, and therefore likely to be effective: Administrators should make sure the programmes are legally sound.
(adj) thorough: You'll need a sound understanding of basic teaching skiffs before you enter the classroom.
(adj) stale food such as bread is old and no longer fresh: Wrap the bread up well or it'll go stale.
(v) to improve a business, organisation, process, etc by making it more modern or simple: We need to streamline the whole process.
(v) to make something stronger: The Bridge will need to be strengthened.
(v) to be better or greater than something else, or better than what was expected or hoped for: Winning the gold medal surpassed my wildest dreams.
(adj) happening at the end of a process or activity: The incident affected the ultimate outcome of the war.
(adj) as good or as bad as possible: The house provides the ultimate luxury retreat.
(v) to become worse, or to make something worse: The weather worsened, and temperatures fell.
(n) something that has been badly damaged: The car was a wreck after the accident.
(v) to severely damage: The town has been wrecked by the bombing.