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

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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 Longing to reconnect with his childhood best friend, resourceful teen Din meets a charming wish-granting dragon who shows him the magic of possibilities. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 6 June 2021 Scott Kazmir’s second career comeback was one of the nicer stories in the first two months of the 2021 season, but the left-hander’s time with the Giants might be over, and right during a tough time for Kazmir, who just lost his best friend. Susan Slusser, San Francisco Chronicle, 5 June 2021 Kendal Severson, at left, is the best friend of Joey’s sister, Molly. Star Tribune, 5 June 2021 How about your best friend, sister, brother, father, mentor, mother, coach, etc.? Jeanette Hurt, Forbes, 5 June 2021 Her costars Jean Smart as Mare's mother Helen Fahey; Julianne Nicholson as Mare's best friend, Lori Ross; and Evan Peters as Detective Colin Zabel are also wonders. Analysis Lisa Respers France, CNN, 5 June 2021 Diligence is your best friend now, so don’t slack on the details. Tarot Astrologers, chicagotribune.com, 5 June 2021 Once there, they were told that he had been shot in the head while playing with a handgun at his best friend’s house. Deborah Kim, ABC News, 4 June 2021 If Bottled Blonde is the older sister at this party, Citizen is her best friend. Sarah Blaskovich, Dallas News, 3 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Prime beef cuts are best roasted, grilled or broiled. Jennifer Rude Klett, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 9 June 2021 Everything from the facial expressions to the kinetic motion of the characters to the lush, colorful scenery puts this game in the running for one of the best-looking games of all time. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 8 June 2021 Behavior change is best perfected through small experiments. Sabina Nawaz, Forbes, 8 June 2021 Hanging back and waiting until conditions improve might best serve your needs. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive, 8 June 2021 Baker’s decision to end the state of emergency, announced last month, caught many on Beacon Hill off guard, and prompted legislators to start a fast-moving process to identify how best to transition the state from the depths of the pandemic. BostonGlobe.com, 8 June 2021 Harris will then participate in a roundtable with Guatemalan community and civil society leaders to continue conversations about how best to address the root causes of migration at 2:45 p.m. Rick Klein, Averi Harper, ABC News, 7 June 2021 These drugs work best before patients show signs of dementia, and so many doctors rely on a type of brain imaging called a PET scan to spot the amyloid plaques that are telltale signs of Alzheimer’s. Usha Lee Mcfarling, STAT, 7 June 2021 An owner knows their pets best, though, so keep an eye on him. Bryan Washington, The New Yorker, 7 June 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun But that 43-6.75 stood until the end, when Morgan topped her own personal best. Tim Bielik, cleveland, 5 June 2021 Summer 2021 doesn’t officially start for another week, but celebrities have already begun wearing their seasonal best. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, 24 May 2021 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, 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, 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, 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, 1 May 2020 Crossing the finish line — and setting a personal best — isn’t just a good race performance. Washington Post, 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, 1 Mar. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In all likelihood, Brooklyn will have to best the Celtics, the winner of the Milwaukee/Miami series, and eventually the 76ers. Zack Jones, Forbes, 21 May 2021 Jesper manages to best the Heartrender, shooting him multiple times in the same spot, eventually bruising him through his bullet-proof kefta. Olivia Truffaut-wong, refinery29.com, 27 Apr. 2021 Curry, going last, was the only one to best his score, putting up an incendiary 31 points. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, 7 Mar. 2021 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, 5 Jan. 2021 How will the Steelers’ offense try to best the Browns’ defense? Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, 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, 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, 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, 27 Nov. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb In all likelihood, Brooklyn will have to best the Celtics, the winner of the Milwaukee/Miami series, and eventually the 76ers. Zack Jones, Forbes, 21 May 2021 Jesper manages to best the Heartrender, shooting him multiple times in the same spot, eventually bruising him through his bullet-proof kefta. Olivia Truffaut-wong, refinery29.com, 27 Apr. 2021 Curry, going last, was the only one to best his score, putting up an incendiary 31 points. Eric Walden, The Salt Lake Tribune, 7 Mar. 2021 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, 5 Jan. 2021 How will the Steelers’ offense try to best the Browns’ defense? Ellis L. Williams, cleveland, 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, 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, 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, 27 Nov. 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.

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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, Adverb, Noun, Verb, and Auxiliary verb

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

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Time Traveler for best

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for best

Last Updated

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Best.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/best. Accessed 12 Jun. 2021.

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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 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.

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

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