best

adjective
\ˈbest \

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 \

Definition of Best (Entry 6 of 6)

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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

When able, the obvious and best approach is to spend more energy and time engaged with one’s calling, whether through a job or as an avocation. Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Burnout reflects a conflict between our inner calling and what we have to do," 13 July 2018 In addition to winning Best of Las Vegas Awards honors like best resident performer/headliner, best production show, best bachelorette party and best bachelor party, Spears’ Las Vegas show helped usher in a new era for residency acts on the strip. Dave Quinn, PEOPLE.com, "Britney Spears 'Excited to be Back' as She Kicks Off Piece of Me Tour in Maryland," 13 July 2018 For voters under the age of 38, Obama is the runaway choice as best president of their lifetime. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "Poll: Barack Obama Was the Greatest President of Our Lifetime," 11 July 2018 The chain has earned an impressive list of accolades including best Italian and best service nods from Consumer Reports. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, "Every restaurant you'll try at IndyStar Wine & Food Experience," 25 June 2018 And now, thanks to a nationwide arts program, some of San Diego’s best interiors will be as inclusive as our exteriors. Karla Peterson, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Six San Diego museums just became more affordable," 30 May 2018 The Vikings, whose best finish at state was second last season, are feeling no pressure to do better, according to Oliver. Mike Clark, Daily Southtown, "Oliver's twist: Senior sprinter Olivia Oliver runs anchor legs for pair of relays as H-F rolls in state prelims," 19 May 2018 Councilman Greg Brockhouse, Nirenberg’s bestest buddy (but only on International Sarcasm Day), has a big problem with that. Gilbert Garcia, San Antonio Express-News, "Brockhouse pushes for recording of closed-door meetings," 18 May 2018 The jury foreman ought not be best buddies with the prosecution. Joseph Gerth, The Courier-Journal, "Bevin's new schools chairman has wanted to be judge, jury and executioner of JCPS for years," 24 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The items have best-by dates of: 5/23/2020, 6/11/2020, 6/12/2020 and 6/14/2020. Talia Richman, baltimoresun.com, "ALDI recalls some poke kits from five Maryland stores," 14 July 2018 The Philadelphia Fusion defeated the Boston Uprising in the first match of a best-of-three playoff series in Burbank, Ca. Courtney Becker, Philly.com, "Philadelphia Fusion trounces Boston in first esports playoff game in Overwatch League," 12 July 2018 Heck, why not play a whole best-of-seven series, to help fill in the scheduling gaps in the NBA Finals. Martin Rogers, USA TODAY, "No one cares about the pointless World Cup bronze playoff. So FIFA should scrap it," 12 July 2018 In today’s crowded craft beer market, sometimes the best-selling beverages are those with the most eye-catching names, such as Track 7’s Panic IPA or Reno As (Expletive) from Revision Brewing. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "These 15 Sacramento-area beers have the cleverest names of any released in 2018," 12 July 2018 Pinkalicious is a New York Times’ best-selling children’s picture book written by Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann. Sheryl Devore, Lake County News-Sun, "Marriott Theatre's 'Pinkalicious:' Silly, but honest," 11 July 2018 While playing for Spurs, Gilzean lifted the FA Cup, two League Cups and, perhaps best of all, the 1972 UEFA Cup. SI.com, "Tottenham Hotspur Release Statement as Club Legend Alan Gilzean Passes Away at 79," 8 July 2018 The first round would have best-of-three series between the wild-card teams. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "A modest proposal for baseball: Contraction, elimination of interleague play and expanded playoffs," 6 July 2018 Oregon State will play Arkansas in a best-of-three series beginning Monday in Omaha to determine the national champion. Samuel Chamberlain, Fox News, "Kansas City Royals signal interest in star college pitcher convicted of child sex abuse," 24 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Giorgio Chiellini was at his imperious best for Juventus in their 2-1 triumph over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League on Wednesday. SI.com, "Remarkable Stats Show How Good Giorgio Chiellini's Defensive Display Against Spurs Truly Was," 8 Mar. 2018 This is Golden State’s offense at its feverish best — Thompson and Curry cutting, Green or Iguodala looking to pass, Durant slipping to the basket or curling off a screen. Ron Kroichick, San Francisco Chronicle, "How the Warriors mastered the art of moving without the ball," 10 May 2018 But science suggests that all kids should get 60 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every day to be at their cognitive best. Peg Tyre, Scientific American, "Trump Administration Advances School Vouchers Despite Scant Evidence," 1 Aug. 2017 His personal best is 6 meters, or 19 feet 8¼ inches, established at the 2017 United States Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Sacramento. Brian Pinelli, New York Times, "In Pole Vault, Sam Kendricks Is a Team Player," 4 July 2018 Randle posted career bests with 16.1 points on 55.8% shooting last season while also averaging 8.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists. Khadrice Rollins, SI.com, "Report: Julius Randle Going to New Orleans Thanks to Anthony Davis's Recruitment Efforts," 2 July 2018 In her Penn State career, McCloskey achieved a personal best of 5-11 ½ at the 2017 LSU Battle on the Bayou, four top-four finishes at the Big Ten Championships and two third-place finishes at the Penn Relays. Jake Willard, Philly.com, "Villanova's Siofra Cleirigh Buttner takes fourth in NCAA 800 final," 9 June 2018 Record low temperature of 1 bests 8 from 1979 and 1971. Matt Rogers, Washington Post, "Severe drought declared in Washington after fourth-driest January on record," 1 Feb. 2018 Both trail Christon’s season bests of 10.58 and 21.42. Zach Engberg, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Mt. Carmel sprinter running in small crowd," 24 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

His 150 points bested the previous record of 144 set by Bears kicker Kevin Butler in 1985. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, "Will Pat O'Donnell respond to competition in fight to stick with Bears?," 13 July 2018 Zsa Zsa bested a terrier with dreadlocks named Scamp to take home the win. Alix Langone, Time, "Zsa Zsa, The World's Ugliest Dog, Has Died Just 9 Days After Securing Her Title," 10 July 2018 In the end, Zsa Zsa bested 13 other dogs to seize the title. Sarah Mervosh, New York Times, "Zsa Zsa the English Bulldog, ‘World’s Ugliest Dog,’ Dies at 9," 10 July 2018 Drake’s dominance bests both Post Malone and Kendrick Lamar, who had scored nine of the top 10 on On-Demand Streaming Songs on the charts dated May 12 and May 6, 2017, respectively. Kevin Rutherford, Billboard, "Drake Breaks Streaming Songs Record, Holds Chart's Top Eight Positions," 10 July 2018 Meanwhile, in the women's competition, Miki Sudo bested her competition by eating 37 hot dogs in three -- oh, 10 minutes. Fox News, "President Trump faces pivotal days at home and overseas," 6 July 2018 Rousey bested Tate, who would become a career rival, in 4:27 of the first round on March 3, 2012 to claim the championship. Grant Gordon, latimes.com, "Rousey's UFC Hall of Fame induction is thank you to fans," 6 July 2018 Yeah, Trout's a smidge above league average - his 205 mark bests last year's 187 career high and would rank 35th in the modern era. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Mike Trout: Halfway to one of the greatest seasons in baseball history," 28 June 2018 Top of Class Quinnipiac University's endowment bested every Ivy League college in 2017. Dawn Lim, WSJ, "How One Small School’s Endowment Is Topping the Class," 24 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb

Bloomberg reports that the major car makers in Germany have been reluctant to commit massive amounts of money to building electric-vehicle battery cells competitively when Chinese firms might best them. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Chinese firm will build battery factory in Germany to supply BMW, Volkswagen," 9 July 2018 Republicans have bested them in all their own favorite games, gerrymandering, filibusters, and weaponizing congressional procedure prominent among them. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Power Rankings: Not so peachy primaries," 9 July 2018 After coming in a close second at a crowded state party convention earlier this year, 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney faces the man who bested him, state legislator Mike Kennedy, in the primary for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. Herb Jackson, USA TODAY, "2018 primaries: Voters have their say in Colorado, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, Utah and South Carolina," 26 June 2018 More encouraging for Liverpool fans is that Guardiola has lost six times in the knockout stages and four of the teams who bested him went on to lift the trophy. Kieran Canning, chicagotribune.com, "Guardiola dreams of miracle, Klopp of holding City at bay," 10 Apr. 2018 Australia's Scotty James quickly bested it with a 96.25. Author: Rick Maese, Anchorage Daily News, "‘I’m here to put it down’: Shaun White is out to erase the painful memories from Sochi," 13 Feb. 2018 Mayor Mark Farrell, who six months ago bested London Breed in the bid to be interim mayor, is now calling for the opposition to stand down and allow Mayor-elect Breed to run unopposed next year. Matier & Ross, SFChronicle.com, "Farrell calls for Breed to have clear field in next year’s mayor race," 8 July 2018 There will be unannounced cast members arriving on the beach, and maybe that means Courtney Robertson, the villain to best all villains, will take Kimball's heart. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "Who Is The Brave Woman Jordan Found Love With On Bachelor In Paradise?," 2 July 2018 Tierra Whack only needed 15 minutes to best them all! — 25 songs is a lot. Allison P. Davis, The Cut, "What Songs Should You Listen To on Scorpion?," 29 June 2018

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.

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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

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

Adverb

see best entry 1

Noun

see best entry 1

Verb

see best entry 1

Auxiliary verb

see best entry 1

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Learn More about best

Dictionary Entries near best

Besser block

Bessy

Bessy cerka

best

Best

bestain

bestarred

Statistics for best

Last Updated

10 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for best

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

See more words from the same century

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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 : 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 \

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.

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Comments on best

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