American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- adj. Surpassing all others in excellence, achievement, or quality; most excellent: the best performer; the best grade of ore.
- adj. Most satisfactory, suitable, or useful; most desirable: the best solution; the best time for planting.
- adj. Greatest; most: He spoke for the best part of an hour.
- adj. Most highly skilled: the best doctor in town.
- adv. In a most excellent way; most creditably or advantageously.
- adv. To the greatest degree or extent; most: "He was certainly the best hated man in the ship” ( W. Somerset Maugham).
- n. One that surpasses all others.
- n. The best part, moment, or value: The best is still to come. Let's get the best out of life.
- n. The optimum condition or quality: look your best. She was at her best in the freestyle competition.
- n. One's nicest or most formal clothing.
- n. The supreme effort one can make: doing our best.
- n. One's warmest wishes or regards: Give them my best.
- v. To get the better of; beat: "I'm a rough customer, I expect, but I know when I'm bested” ( Nathanael West).
- idiom. at best Interpreted most favorably; at the most: no more than 40 people at best in attendance.
- idiom. at best Under the most favorable conditions: has a top speed of 20 miles per hour at best.
- idiom. for the best With an ultimately positive or preferable result.
- idiom. get To outdo or outwit; defeat: My opponent got the best of me in the debate.
- idiom. make the best of Accept (a bad situation) in as good a light as possible.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Of the highest quality, excellence, or standing: said of both persons and things in regard to mental, moral, or physical qualities, whether inherent or acquired: as, the best writers and speakers; the best families; the best judgment; the best years of one's life; a house built of the best materials.
- Of greatest advantage, usefulness, or suitability for the purpose intended; most advantageous, suitable, appropriate, or desirable: as, the best man for the place; the best way to do anything.
- Most kind, beneficent, or good: applied to persons: as, the best husband imaginable; which of your brothers is best to you?
- Largest; greatest; most: as, we spent the best part of three days in getting there.
- n. The highest possible state of excellence; the best quality or property of a person or thing.
- n. All that one can do, or show in one's self: often used in this sense with the possessive pronouns my, thy, his, their, etc.: as, I will do my best to advance your interests; she is bent on looking her best; he did all he could to appear at his best in that performance.
- n. The best. The best people collectively; those of the highest standing in any respect, but especially socially or intellectually.
- n. The best things, or a thing of the best quality: as, he always buys the best; dressed in one's best.
- n. Often used in speaking of things or events that are not so good or favorable as was expected or was to be wished: as, to make the best of ill fortune or a bad bargain.
- In the most excellent or most suitable manner; with most advantage or success: as, he who runs best gets the prize; the best-behaved boy in the school; the best-cultivated fields.
- In or to the highest degree; to the fullest extent; most fully: as, those who know him best speak highly of him; those best informed say so; the best-abused man in town.
- To get the better of; outdo; surpass.
- To overreach or outwit: as, to best a client.
- To defeat in a contest; do better than; beat; hence, in pugilism, to thrash soundly; drub; defeat at fisticuffs.
- Specifically, noting a certain grade of wrought-iron, which is generally divided into four grades: crown, best, best best, and best best best or treble best. This classification is largely arbitrary, and there is considerable difference-between the same grades of different manufacturers.
- adj. superlative form of good: most good.
- adv. superlative form of well: most well.
- n. uncountable The supreme effort one can make
- n. countable The person (or persons) who is (are) most excellent.
- v. transitive To beat in a contest; to surpass in skill or achievement.
GNU Webster's 1913
- adj. Having good qualities in the highest degree; most good, kind, desirable, suitable, etc.; most excellent.
- adj. Most advanced; most correct or complete.
- adj. Most; largest.
- n. Utmost; highest endeavor or state; most nearly perfect thing, or being, or action.
- In the highest degree; beyond all others.
- To the most advantage; with the most success, case, profit, benefit, or propriety.
- Most intimately; most thoroughly or correctly.
- v. colloq. To get the better of.
- adj. (comparative and superlative of `well') wiser or more advantageous and hence advisable
- adj. (superlative of `good') having the most positive qualities
- adv. from a position of superiority or authority
- v. get the better of
- adv. it would be sensible
- n. the person who is most outstanding or excellent; someone who tops all others
- n. Canadian physiologist (born in the United States) who assisted F. G. Banting in research leading to the discovery of insulin (1899-1978)
- adv. in a most excellent way or manner
- n. the supreme effort one can make
- From Middle English beste, from Old English betst, betest ("best"), from Proto-Germanic *batistaz (“best”), from Proto-Indo-European *bhAd- (“good”). Cognate with Scots best ("best"), West Frisian best ("best"), Dutch best ("best"), German beste ("best"), Danish bedst ("best"), Swedish bäst ("best"), Icelandic bestur ("best"). More at better. (Wiktionary)
- Middle English, from Old English betst; see bhad- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“See best toys for newborn to 3-month-old babies, best toys for babies 4-10 months old, and best toys for babies 9 months to 1 year old for more buying advice.”
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“Honestly, in my heart of hearts, I believe that McPalin at best, * at best* don't care whether or not people at their rallies voice homicidal intentions towards Obama.”
“We want recipes for this event to be *the best of the best* herb recipes from great cooks.”
“This concept of fun should include more than the few dozen people willing to grind their way through an asinine number of hours to become the best of the best*.”
“Pray take what measures you deem best, and let us have the _best_ officer that we can get.”
“Notwithstanding such an editorship must have resembled the perplexity of Sinbad in the Valley of Diamonds, Mr. Hood's volume is almost unexceptionably good, whatever he may have rejected; and one of the best, if not _the best_, article in the whole work, has been contributed by the editor himself.”
“Lord Normanby has written one of the best, if not _the best_, of this class of works, the tendency of which is in most instances of questionable character.”
“I love thee best, O _most best_." and in _King Lear_, Act ii.”
“You have done so well already, Willie, that we think you can best answer your own question; but we should take _all_ of our _best_ pigeons.”
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