mid-15c., enprowment "profitable use, management of something for profit," from Anglo-French emprowement, from emprouwer "turn to profit" (see improve). Meaning "betterment; act of making better, amelioration" is from 1640s. Meaning "production of something better, something better (than something else)" is from 1712. Meaning "buildings, etc. on a piece of property" is from 1773. Related: Improvements.
"improvement of one's character, etc., by one's own efforts," 1745, from self- + improvement.
c. 1400, melioracioun, "improvement, act or process of making or becoming better," from Late Latin meliorationem (nominative melioratio) "a bettering, improvement," noun of action from past-participle stem of meliorare "to improve" (see meliorate). Meliorations in Scottish law were "improvements made by a tenant upon rented land."
early 13c., "betterment, improvement;" c. 1300, of persons, "correction, reformation," from Old French amendement "rectification, correction; advancement, improvement," from amender "to amend" (see amend). The sense expanded 17c. to include "correction of error in a legal process" (c. 1600) and "alteration of a writ or bill" to remove its faults (1690s).
mid-14c., in religious use, "a building up of the soul," from Old French edificacion "a building, construction; edification, good example," and directly from Latin aedificationem (nominative aedificatio) "construction, the process of building; a building, an edifice," in Late Latin "spiritual improvement," from past participle stem of aedificare "to build" (see edifice). Religious use is as translation of Greek oikodome in I Corinthians xiv. Meaning "mental improvement" is 1650s. Literal sense of "building" is rare in English, but Middle English bilding sometimes was used in religious writing to translate Latin aedificatio.
mid-15c., "amenable to discipline by instruction or improvement by teaching," from Medieval Latin disciplinabilis "docile." Meaning "subject or liable to discipline or correction" is from 1870, from discipline + -able.
1963, in U.S. postal ZIP code, an acronym for Zone Improvement Plan, no doubt chosen with conscious echo of zip (v.1). Alternative post code is attested by 1967 in Australia.