Corrupted changes something from a base state to a worse state. Redeemed returns something from the worse state to the base state. I'm looking for a word describing a change from the base state to a better state, without implying a previous fall.

"Capone corrupted Chicago. Giuliani _____ New York." (well, depending on your politics.)

"Alice corrupted Bob, leading him into a life of vice."

"Claire ____ Dennis, leading him to a life of virtue."

Thesaurus has not been helpful, as it gives antonyms for corrupt the adjective, but not the verb. Lexipedia was similarly unhelpful.

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    And the answer is: edified.
    – Robusto
    Feb 19 '15 at 14:01
  • Uncorrupted, de-corrupted. Feb 19 '15 at 14:03
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    Does the word you seek have to mean that the change is starting from, and only from, the base state (neither higher nor lower), or does it simply have to be devoid of any and all implication that one is starting/restarting at or near the very bottom after falling to a corrupted state? If the former, that’s a tall order. If the latter, then “ameliorate” or even the shortened “meliorate” (or any synonym of the already provided “improve”) might work, but personally, I don’t think any suggestions so far would automatically capture the notion of “from the base state.”
    – Papa Poule
    Feb 19 '15 at 18:07
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    (Warning: not theology) If there is a base state, from which something can be corrupted, then it should be possible to "uplift" from that base state to a higher state, without corrupting it first. Feb 19 '15 at 21:15

No one seems to have suggested "elevate"/"elevated" yet. "Elevation" does have some religious connotations, I believe, and the notion of "being elevated [to a higher level]" might capture the notion of heading in the right direction towards a pure(r) state of being.


A nice simple word like improve seems to fit the bill...


Clean (clean up), Cleanse:

Giuliani cleaned up New York City.
Claire cleansed Dennis (of whatever held him back).

Purify is to remove that which debases:

Christ purified his heart, as if he had been born again.


I'd consider homogenize but that's a specific way of dealing with a variation on the theme of corruption.


And she enlightened many by the word of God. And certain men of the city, being Greeks by religion, and physicians by profession, sent to her insolent young men to corrupt her.

source: The Apocryphal Acts of Paul, Peter, John, Andrew, and Thomas

enlighten to give intellectual or spiritual light to;

He purified the revolution in separating the truths which it contained from the passions that, during its delirium, disfigured it. He ennobled the people in giving them the consciousness of their force,....

Source: The Paris Sketch Book By William Makepeace Thackeray

ennoble to make (someone or something) better or more worthy of admiration

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