Definitions

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

  • adjective Greatest in number.
  • adjective Greatest in amount, extent, or degree.
  • adjective In the greatest number of instances.
  • noun The greatest amount or degree.
  • noun Slang The greatest, best, or most exciting. Used with the:
  • pronoun The greatest part or number.
  • adverb In or to the highest degree or extent. Used with many adjectives and adverbs to form the superlative degree.
  • adverb Very.
  • adverb Informal Almost.
  • idiom (at (the) most) At the maximum.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • A double superlative suffix associated with -more, a comparative suffix, now taken as a suffixal form of most, as used in forming superlatives, as in foremost, hindmost, uppermost, utmost, inmost, topmost, etc. Compare -more.
  • In the greatest or highest or in a very great or high degree, quantity, or extent; mostly; chiefly; principally.
  • Used before adjectives and adverbs to form a superlative phrase, as more is to form a comparative: as, most vile; most wicked; most illustrious; most rapidly.
  • Greatest in size or extent; largest: superlative of much or mickle in its original sense ‘great,’ ‘large.’
  • Greatest in age; oldest.
  • Greatest in rank, position, or importance; highest; chief.
  • Greatest in amount, degree, or intensity: superlative of much.
  • Greatest in number; numerous beyond others; amounting to a considerable majority: superlative of many: used before nouns in the plural.
  • noun The greatest or greater number: in this sense plural.
  • noun Greatest value, amount, or advantage; utmost extent, degree, or effect.

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

  • Consisting of the greatest number or quantity; greater in number or quantity than all the rest; nearly all.
  • Greatest in degree.
  • obsolete Highest in rank; greatest.
  • in reference to the larger part of a thing, or to the majority of the persons, instances, or things referred to; as, human beings, for the most part, are superstitious; the view, for the most part, was pleasing.
  • [Obs.] generally. See An end, under End, n.
  • adverb In the greatest or highest degree.

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

  • determiner Superlative form of much.
  • adverb Superlative form of many.
  • adverb Superlative form of much.
  • adverb Forms the superlative of many adjectives.
  • adverb To a great extent or degree; highly; very.
  • noun uncountable The greatest amount.
  • noun countable A record-setting amount.

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

  • adjective (superlative of `many' used with count nouns and often preceded by `the') quantifier meaning the greatest in number
  • adverb (of actions or states) slightly short of or not quite accomplished; all but
  • adverb very
  • adverb used to form the superlative
  • adjective the superlative of `much' that can be used with mass nouns and is usually preceded by `the'; a quantifier meaning the greatest in amount or extent or degree

Etymologies

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

[Middle English, from Old English mǣst, māst; see mē- in Indo-European roots. Adv., sense 3, short for almost.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Old English mǣst, from Proto-Germanic. Cognate with Dutch meest, German meist, Swedish mest.

Examples

  • Anyone who edits Chinglish for a living, as I do, will recognize that very common most of ____ error for most___ or most of the ______.

    Archive 2009-03-01

  • Anyone who edits Chinglish for a living, as I do, will recognize that very common most of ____ error for most___ or most of the ______.

    What 1000s of Errors? "Please Stop" v2.0

  • The existance of a creator, or lack there of, is unprovable and rightly so, if there was proof there would be no need for faith so the most basic tenant of *most* theology is safe from contradiction.

    Your Creation Museum Report « Whatever

  • Given America’s superior technology, it is reasonable to assume that if the US launched a “preemptive” nuclear or conventional attack on Iran, we would wipe out most of their nuclear facilities, although probably not all. former president and nuclear engineer, Jimmy Carter, observed “most Iranian nuclear facilities are now spread over a wide area and buried deep underground.

    Printing: Iran - Deja Vu All Over Again

  • The most prominent instance of this strategy is his embrace of an atomist matter theory as a ˜most likely hypothesis™.

    Pierre Gassendi

  • Walt Whitman as one of the most, if not _the most_, perfect example of whom we have any record of cosmic consciousness and its sublime effects upon the character and personality of the illumined one.

    Cosmic Consciousness

  • "I have a strange feeling, my boy -- for once, I find myself unable to explain -- most odd, _most_ odd ... five hundredth birthday ...."

    David and the Phoenix

  • Where the adjectives and adverbs have two or more syllables, most of them are compared by the use of the adverbs _more_ and _most_, or, if the comparison be a descending one, by the use of _less_ and _least_; as, _beautiful, more beautiful, most beautiful_, and

    Practical Grammar and Composition

  • "The deliberate convictions of the most matured consideration I can give the subject, are, that the institution of slavery is a _most serious injury to the habits, manners and morals_ of our white population -- that it leads to sloth, indolence, dissipation, and vice."

    The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Part 3 of 4

  • And if we place more and most before other adverbs, the effect is the same; as, skilfully, _more_ skilfully, _most_ skilfully.

    English Grammar in Familiar Lectures

Comments

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  • love

    October 20, 2009

  • But whatever does a commercial-looking link to a page about a dental product have to do with the word most...?

    November 17, 2009

  • Spamness.

    November 17, 2009

  • The honeymoon is over already, isn't it?

    November 17, 2009

  • Did I miss the honeymoon? ;-)

    November 18, 2009

  • If by honeymoon you have in mind WeirdNet #2, then it looks like it.

    November 18, 2009

  • "Aren’t most of you descended from pirates?"

    - Duke of Edinburgh to a Cayman islander.

    December 6, 2010