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Is there a word meaning "improves over time"? For example, if someone doesn't trust another, but later trusts them, what could that be described as?

  • I'm not sure why you couldn't just say steadily improves. Also, I think this question needs more context. You gave one example context of steady improvement – trust in a relationship – but many other things could improve over time: a software system, a financial situation, the reliability of an electric automobile, a student's academic performance, somebody's cooking skills, etc. Words like enhances or grows or even upgrade might work, but whether or not those would be suitable depends on the context, and you've provided very little of that. Let's hope this question improves over time. – J.R. Feb 28 '13 at 21:30
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Relationships can thaw:

to abandon aloofness, reserve, or hostility

The word carries connotations of something happening over a period of time.

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    In the context of improving relationships, thaw is a good word. I think it works even better for international relationships than for gradual building of trust between individuals. – J.R. Feb 28 '13 at 22:31
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For me, it would depend on what aspect of the meaning I want to emphasize.

If I want to emphasize the passage of time, I would use the verbs like mature or ripen, e.g., "My fondness for Dorothy had ripened into love."

If I want to emphasize the aspect of improvement, I might use verbs like promote or foster, e.g., "This plan will promote confidence in our ability to deliver."

In the specific context of trust, I'd use earn, e.g., "I spent the entire semester earning her trust."

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The word I was looking for is PROGRESSIVE, as in "progressive revelation."

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