Definitions

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun The highest possible state of excellence; the best quality or property of a person or thing.
  • noun 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.
  • noun The best. The best people collectively; those of the highest standing in any respect, but especially socially or intellectually.
  • noun The best things, or a thing of the best quality: as, he always buys the best; dressed in one's best.
  • noun 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb colloq. To get the better of.
  • noun Utmost; highest endeavor or state; most nearly perfect thing, or being, or action.
  • noun in the utmost degree or extent applicable to the case; under the most favorable circumstances; as, life is at best very short.
  • noun [Obs.] finally.
  • noun to gain an advantage over, whether fairly or unfairly.
  • noun To reduce to the least possible inconvenience; as, to make the best of ill fortune or a bad bargain.
  • 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.
  • adjective Having good qualities in the highest degree; most good, kind, desirable, suitable, etc.; most excellent.
  • adjective Most advanced; most correct or complete.
  • adjective Most; largest.
  • adjective the only or principal groomsman at a wedding ceremony.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective superlative form of good: most good.
  • adverb superlative form of well: most well.
  • noun uncountable The supreme effort one can make
  • noun countable The person (or persons) who is (are) most excellent.
  • verb transitive To beat in a contest; to surpass in skill or achievement.

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

  • adjective (comparative and superlative of `well') wiser or more advantageous and hence advisable
  • adjective (superlative of `good') having the most positive qualities
  • adverb from a position of superiority or authority
  • verb get the better of
  • adverb it would be sensible
  • noun the person who is most outstanding or excellent; someone who tops all others
  • noun Canadian physiologist (born in the United States) who assisted F. G. Banting in research leading to the discovery of insulin (1899-1978)
  • adverb in a most excellent way or manner
  • noun the supreme effort one can make

Etymologies

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

Examples

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