best

adjective
\ ˈbest How to pronounce best (audio) \

Definition of best

 (Entry 1 of 6)

superlative of good

1 : excelling all others the best student in the class
2 : most productive of good : offering or producing the greatest advantage, utility, or satisfaction What is the best thing to do?
3 : most, largest It rained for the best part of their vacation.

best

adverb

Definition of best (Entry 2 of 6)

superlative of well

1 : in the best (see best entry 1) way : to greatest advantage Some things are best left unsaid.
2 : most Those best able will provide needed support.
as best
: as well, skillfully, or accurately as Try to do it as best you can.

best

noun
plural best

Definition of best (Entry 3 of 6)

1 : the best (see best entry 1) state or part You haven't heard the best of it.
2 : one that is best the best falls short saved the best for last
3 : the greatest degree of good or excellence He's at his best in front of a live audience. democracy at its best
4a : one's maximum effort do your best
b : a best performance or achievement ran a new personal best
5 : best clothes wearing their Sunday best
at best
: under the most favorable circumstances won't be finished for another three months at best At best, you will earn back what you paid in. He's an average writer at best. … was among the worst schools in a city whose public education could be described as struggling, at best.— Ann Carrns
get the best of
: to overcome or outdo (someone or something) : to get the better of The hero got the best of the villain in the end. I let my emotions get the best of me and said something I regret. Let's face it: As much as we like to eat healthy, the old sweet tooth sometimes gets the best of us.— Denise I. O'Neal

best

verb
bested; besting; bests

Definition of best (Entry 4 of 6)

transitive verb

: to get the better of : outdo bested by their opponents

Definition of best (Entry 5 of 6)

: had best (see best entry 2 sense 1) you best listen

Best

biographical name
\ ˈbest How to pronounce Best (audio) \

Definition of Best (Entry 6 of 6)

Charles Herbert 1899–1978 Canadian (American-born) physiologist

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of best in a Sentence

Adjective You should wear your best clothes tonight. We ate the best food and drank the best wines. His modesty and sense of humor are his best qualities. Is that your best offer? Which of these do you think tastes best? Mary sends you her very best wishes. She's the best student in her class. He won the award for best actor in a drama. She truly believes that this is the best way to solve the problem. She's the team's best hope for a medal. Adverb The sauce is best served cold. They work best under pressure. That's what we do best! We need to think about how best to fix this problem. The work should be done by the people who are best able to do it. She's best suited to life in the city. He is best known for his invention of the lightbulb. The museum features some of the best-known examples of this style of painting. Noun Out of all of my workers, he's the best. Our company is the best in the business. Thanks, Dad. You're the best! I have one more gift for you, and I saved the best for last. Bad things happen to the best of us. They want the best for their children. Even in the best of times, we had trouble paying our bills. In the best of all possible worlds, no one would be without food and clean water. I have a wonderful family and a great job, so I feel that I have the best of both worlds. He did his best to help them. Verb at last she's bested her card-playing mother at the game of hearts
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective No disrespect to Rocky River and Revere, but to say that St. V-M is the fourth-best team in this field is absurd. Joe Magill, cleveland, "Which teams can make it to regionals? Area OHSAA girls basketball Division II sectional-district preview," 16 Feb. 2021 And, at least for the moment, the committee agrees that Stanford is a top team, listing the Cardinal as a No. 1 seed, the overall third-best team in the country, behind UConn and South Carolina. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, "No. 6 Stanford women edge No. 13 Oregon, tune up for NCAA tourney," 15 Feb. 2021 Julius Randle scored a season-high 44 points, making a career-best seven 3-pointers and leading the New York Knicks to their third straight victory, 123-112 over the slumping Atlanta Hawks on Monday night. Brian Mahoney, Star Tribune, "Randle scores 44 points, Knicks beat slumping Hawks 123-112," 15 Feb. 2021 Bartolero, a sophomore from Woodstock, Ga., batted .394 with a league-best six doubles in 2020. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "Troy puts 5 on preseason All-Sun Belt baseball team," 15 Feb. 2021 Sneed finished last season as the conference’s sixth-best receiver, and based on his trajectory, Sneed could fall in the top 3 in his senior season. Destine Gibson, Dallas News, "Baylor WR/TE outlook for 2021: Will R.J. Sneed become one of the Big 12′s top 3 receivers?," 15 Feb. 2021 The Lightning star is also off to a career-best points pace (12 games, 14 points). Kevin Paul Dupont, BostonGlobe.com, "NHL’s division-only format results in tunnel vision," 13 Feb. 2021 Alex is a defensive tackle who is ranked as the fourth-best recruit from Michigan in the 2022 class. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football LB Ben VanSumeren enters NCAA transfer portal after brother decommits," 13 Feb. 2021 The Texans finished a franchise-best 12-4 the following year behind Watt's stellar season, reaching the playoffs again. Kristie Rieken, ajc, "Watt, Texans 'mutually' agree to split in more team upheaval," 12 Feb. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Today, Nasir is perhaps best known for leading a group of researchers in the mid-1970s to develop what is called Discrete Cosine Transform (DCT), a technological technique that helped make image sharing and video-conferencing possible. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "The Incredible True Story Behind Inventor Nasir Ahmed," 18 Feb. 2021 Giudice is probably best known in the state as a top energy aide in the Deval Patrick administration, and as the former chief executive of local battery-storage startup Ambri. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Biden administration taps another Mass. energy expert, Phil Giudice," 17 Feb. 2021 Heretofore, she has been best known for the Atlanta school case, in which 11 educators were convicted of racketeering and other crimes. New York Times, "In Georgia, a New District Attorney Starts Circling Trump and His Allies," 13 Feb. 2021 Of the Cahill trilogy, it’s also, not unrelatedly, the best titled. Jason Kehe, Wired, "Bliss Is the Worst Kind of Open-Ended Sci-Fi Movie," 5 Feb. 2021 Creating clothes which genuinely align with real women's lives is what Pyo does best. Georgia Murray, refinery29.com, "How Rejina Pyo Changed Things Up," 5 Feb. 2021 Are there any patterns to what types of films do best in the top category at each show? Paul Grein, Billboard, "Is the SAG Award for Outstanding Movie Cast a Good Predictor for Best Picture Oscar?," 22 Jan. 2021 And, according to experts, regenerative agriculture does it best and creates a vast carbon sink. IndyStar, "There is a lot of money on the table with carbon markets. But farmers are skeptical.," 18 Jan. 2021 This is probably the best kept secret from any Margiela alumni. Laird Borrelli-persson, Vogue, "Sébastien Meunier on His 2005 “Homme-Sandwich” Collection and How Menswear Is Changing," 15 Jan. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Lots of laughs, quality performances, some emotional moments, Tom Hanks at his comic best and a story from when baseball was heavily altered by world events like World War II. Scott Venci, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Two sports writers drafted their favorite sports movies; who wound up with the better library?," 6 Apr. 2020 Her distances — 137 feet, 9 inches in the discus and 40-5¾ in the shot put — fell short of her personal bests (142-10 and 42-11). David Hinojosa, ExpressNews.com, "Track and field preview: Southwest thrower Morgan Fey creates magic with discus, shot put," 11 Feb. 2020 White scored in double figures in points 16 times with season bests of 19 points coming twice, most notably against Colorado. Michelle Gardner, azcentral, "Former ASU basketball standout Romello White transfers to Mississippi," 15 May 2020 Tilmon also competes in track and has personal bests of 15.99 in the 110-meter hurdles, 45.17 in the 300 hurdles and 40-8.5 in the triple jump. Greg Riddle, Dallas News, "Mansfield Timberview three-star defensive lineman Terrell Tilmon commits to Oregon," 1 May 2020 Crossing the finish line — and setting a personal best — isn’t just a good race performance. Washington Post, "My son survived Sandy Hook. It’s changed me as a parent.," 13 Dec. 2019 Best of the best State bests: Marin, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties ranked 1-2-3, respectively, among California’s 58 counties. Tom Stienstra, SFChronicle.com, "California’s healthiest counties, ranked," 1 Mar. 2020 His previous best was 28 on April 10, 2019, while with Oklahoma City. Pat Graham, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' Rose, Wood score 20 points in loss at Denver Nuggets, 115-98," 26 Feb. 2020 Peterson set career bests with four catches and 63 yards in an otherwise miserable loss at Utah last October. Michael Lev, azcentral, "Counting down the most valuable Arizona Wildcats for 2019 football season," 9 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Democrats are aware of that history and built an unprecedented turnout operation for these runoffs, hoping to best the Republicans’ own aggressive effort. Cameron Mcwhirter, WSJ, "Georgians Vote in Runoff Races That Will Determine Senate Control," 5 Jan. 2021 How will the Steelers’ offense try to best the Browns’ defense? Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "Browns jump to 10-point favorite vs. Pittsburgh Steelers after Mason Rudolph named starter," 29 Dec. 2020 One of the nation’s more accurate pollsters is bullish on Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s chances to win her runoff race against Raphael Warnock but less confident that Sen. David Perdue will best Jon Ossoff. Michael Lee, Washington Examiner, "Pollster predicts Loeffler victory but is less confident on Perdue's chances," 25 Dec. 2020 What does the Democratic Party need to do to best support the organizers and groups that worked to fuel Black voter turnout in key states? NBC News, "Alicia Garza on 'defunding the police,' Biden and what's next for Black Americans," 10 Dec. 2020 She’s a nasty piece of work to be sure, but Ahsoka manages to best her in a thrilling action sequence which culminates in a lightsaber vs. Beskar spear duel. Will Thorne, chicagotribune.com, "Baby Yoda’s big reveal and 4 other updates from ‘The Mandalorian’," 27 Nov. 2020 At 28 years, 162 games, that would best the current record held by Fitzgerald, who nabbed his 700th reception at 29 years, 23 days. Bob Mcmanaman, The Arizona Republic, "DeAndre Hopkins, Stefon Diggs expected to lead WR fireworks show when Cardinals face Bills," 14 Nov. 2020 Those absentee and provisional ballots, however, are not enough to best the 77% turnout rate. Hannah K. Sparling, The Enquirer, "Ohio voter turnout breaks record with more than 5.8 million votes," 4 Nov. 2020 In addition to competing against each other, Lieberman and Warnock are trying to best their Republican rivals, Loeffler and U.S. Representative Doug Collins. Brett Pulley, Bloomberg.com, "New Swing State Georgia Could Decide Control of the Senate," 28 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb Democrats are aware of that history and built an unprecedented turnout operation for these runoffs, hoping to best the Republicans’ own aggressive effort. Cameron Mcwhirter, WSJ, "Georgians Vote in Runoff Races That Will Determine Senate Control," 5 Jan. 2021 How will the Steelers’ offense try to best the Browns’ defense? Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, "Browns jump to 10-point favorite vs. Pittsburgh Steelers after Mason Rudolph named starter," 29 Dec. 2020 One of the nation’s more accurate pollsters is bullish on Sen. Kelly Loeffler’s chances to win her runoff race against Raphael Warnock but less confident that Sen. David Perdue will best Jon Ossoff. Michael Lee, Washington Examiner, "Pollster predicts Loeffler victory but is less confident on Perdue's chances," 25 Dec. 2020 What does the Democratic Party need to do to best support the organizers and groups that worked to fuel Black voter turnout in key states? NBC News, "Alicia Garza on 'defunding the police,' Biden and what's next for Black Americans," 10 Dec. 2020 She’s a nasty piece of work to be sure, but Ahsoka manages to best her in a thrilling action sequence which culminates in a lightsaber vs. Beskar spear duel. Will Thorne, chicagotribune.com, "Baby Yoda’s big reveal and 4 other updates from ‘The Mandalorian’," 27 Nov. 2020 At 28 years, 162 games, that would best the current record held by Fitzgerald, who nabbed his 700th reception at 29 years, 23 days. Bob Mcmanaman, The Arizona Republic, "DeAndre Hopkins, Stefon Diggs expected to lead WR fireworks show when Cardinals face Bills," 14 Nov. 2020 Those absentee and provisional ballots, however, are not enough to best the 77% turnout rate. Hannah K. Sparling, The Enquirer, "Ohio voter turnout breaks record with more than 5.8 million votes," 4 Nov. 2020 In addition to competing against each other, Lieberman and Warnock are trying to best their Republican rivals, Loeffler and U.S. Representative Doug Collins. Brett Pulley, Bloomberg.com, "New Swing State Georgia Could Decide Control of the Senate," 28 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'best.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of best

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb

1863, in the meaning defined above

Auxiliary verb

1897, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for best

Adjective, Adverb, Noun, Verb, and Auxiliary verb

Middle English, from Old English betst; akin to Old English bōt remedy — more at better

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about best

Time Traveler for best

Time Traveler

The first known use of best was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Statistics for best

Last Updated

22 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Best.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/best. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for best

best

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of best

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: better than all others in quality or value
: most skillful, talented, or successful
: most appropriate, useful, or helpful

best

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of best (Entry 2 of 4)

: in the best way : in a way that is better than all others : with the most success or benefit
: to the greatest degree or extent

best

noun

English Language Learners Definition of best (Entry 3 of 4)

: the best person or thing : the best group of people or things
: someone's or something's most effective, capable, or successful condition
: the highest level that you can do or achieve

best

verb

English Language Learners Definition of best (Entry 4 of 4)

: to do better than (someone or something) : to defeat or outdo (someone or something)

best

adjective
\ ˈbest How to pronounce best (audio) \

Kids Definition of best

 (Entry 1 of 4)

superlative of good

1 : better than all others He's the best speller in the class.
2 : most appropriate, useful, or helpful This is the best way to solve the problem.
best part
: most entry 3 It rained for the best part of their vacation.

best

adverb

Kids Definition of best (Entry 2 of 4)

superlative of well

1 : in a way that is better than all the others This dessert is best eaten hot.
2 : most entry 2 sense 1 She's best able to do the work.

best

noun

Kids Definition of best (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : a person or thing or part of a thing that is better than all the others You're the best!
2 : someone's greatest effort Do your best.

best

verb
bested; besting

Kids Definition of best (Entry 4 of 4)

: to do better than : defeat or outdo He bested us in every game.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on best

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for best

Nglish: Translation of best for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of best for Arabic Speakers

Comments on best

What made you want to look up best? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

February 2021 Words of the Day Quiz

  • squirrel in winter
  • Which is a synonym of perdure?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!