Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th 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.
  • transitive 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.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. superlative form of good: most good.
  • adv. superlative form of well: most well.
  • n. The supreme effort one can make
  • n. The person (or persons) who is (are) most excellent.
  • v. To beat in a contest; to surpass in skill or achievement.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • transitive v. To get the better of.

from The 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.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • 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

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English betst; see bhad- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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)

Examples

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