from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Very large in size, extent, or intensity.
  • adjective Of a larger size than other, similar forms.
  • adjective Large in quantity or number: synonym: large.
  • adjective Extensive in time or distance.
  • adjective Remarkable or outstanding in magnitude, degree, or extent.
  • adjective Of outstanding significance or importance.
  • adjective Chief or principal.
  • adjective Superior in quality or character; noble.
  • adjective Powerful; influential.
  • adjective Eminent; distinguished.
  • adjective Very good; first-rate.
  • adjective Very skillful.
  • adjective Enthusiastic.
  • adjective Being one generation removed from the relative specified. Often used in combination.
  • adjective Archaic Pregnant.
  • noun One that is great.
  • noun A division of most pipe organs, usually containing the most powerful ranks of pipes.
  • noun A similar division of other organs.
  • adverb Very well.
  • adverb Used as an intensive with certain adjectives.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Unusually or comparatively large in size or extent; of large dimensions; of wide extent or expanse; large; big: as, a great rock, house, farm, lake, distance, view, etc.
  • Large in number; numerous: as, a great multitude; a great collection.
  • Exceeding or unusual in degree: as, great fear, love, strength, wealth, power.
  • Widely extended in time; of long duration; long-continued; long: as, a great delay.
  • Of large extent or scope; stately; imposing; magnificent: as, a great entertainment.
  • Of large consequence; important; momentous; weighty; impressive.
  • Chief; principal; largest or most important: as, the great seal of England; the great toe.
  • Holding an eminent or a superlative position in respect to rank, office, power, or mental or moral endowments or acquirements; eminent; distinguished; renowned: as, the great Creator; a great genius, hero, or philosopher; a great impostor; Peter the Great.
  • Grand; magnanimous; munificent; noble; aspiring: as, a great soul.
  • Expressive of haughtiness or pride; arrogant; big: as, great looks; great words.
  • Filled; teeming; pregnant; gravid.
  • Hard; difficult.
  • . Widely known; notorious.
  • Much in action; active; persistent; earnest; zealous: as, a great friend to the poor; a great foe to monopoly.
  • Much in use; much used; much affected;
  • In geneal., one degree more remote in ascent or descent: generally joined with its noun by a hyphen, and used alone only for brothers and sisters of lineal ancestors, in other cases before the prefix grand-: as, great-uncle, great-aunt (brother or sister of a grandparent); great-grandfather, great-grandson, great-grandneph-ew.
  • In music, in the comparative, same as major: as, greater third (a major third), etc.
  • In a wider sense, a colon or series.
  • The forty years' division, a. d. 1378-1417, between different parties in the Latin or Roman Catholic Church, which adhered to different popes.
  • The Black Sea.
  • The corresponding season of the church year, from Easter to Ascension.
  • noun 1. The whole; the gross; the mass; wholesale: as, to work by the great.
  • noun . A great part; the greater part; the sum and substance.
  • noun plural The great go at Cambridge. See go, n., 3.
  • To become great or large; grow large; enlarge.
  • To become great with child; become pregnant.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English grete, from Old English grēat, thick, coarse.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English greet ("great, large"), from Old English grēat ("big, thick, coarse, stour, massive"), from Proto-Germanic *grautaz (“big in size, coarse, coarse grained”), from Proto-Indo-European *ghrewə- (“to fell, put down, fall in”). Cognate with Scots great ("coarse in grain or texture, thick, great"), West Frisian grut ("large, great"), Dutch groot ("large, stour"), German groß ("large"), Old English grēot ("earth, sand, grit"), Latin grandis ("great,big"), Albanian ngre ("I lift, heave, stand, elevate"). More at grit.


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