best

adjective
\ ˈbest How to pronounce best (audio) \

Essential Meaning of best

1 : better than all others in quality or value You should wear your best clothes tonight. He took us to the (very) best restaurants in the city. See More ExamplesWe ate the best food and drank the best wines. You're our best customers. His modesty and sense of humor are his best qualities. Is that your best offer? I've had the best time with you! [=I've had a very enjoyable time with you] The best [=most valuable] things in life are free. Which of these do you think tastes best? Mary sends you her very best wishes/regards. He's my best friend. [=my closest/dearest friend] = He and I are best friends.Hide
2 : most skillful, talented, or successful She's the best student in her class. He won the award for best actor in a drama. the team's best player
3 : most appropriate, useful, or helpful She truly believes that this is the best way to solve the problem. She's the team's best hope/chance for a medal. See More ExamplesShe thought waiting was best. = She thought that the best thing to do was to wait. = She thought that it was best to wait. It's best to leave early if you want to be sure of arriving on time. We want to do what's best for you. He's the best man for the job. You should do whatever you think is the best thing to do. = You should do whatever you think best. We're making the best possible use of these materials.Hide

Full 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

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 In Monet’s eyes, the best thing for her family would be to find a hustle that would keep her and her children alive and out of jail. Kyesha Jennings, Vulture, 23 Nov. 2021 And while the Titans still managed some signature wins before falling flat against the Texans, trying to replicate any success against one of the NFL’s best defenses on the road won’t be easy. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 23 Nov. 2021 Jonathan Taylor delivered his best performance during a sensational second NFL season with the Indianapolis Colts, scoring five touchdowns and rushing for 185 yards (four touchdowns) in a 41-15 shellacking of host Buffalo on Sunday. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 Nov. 2021 These guys in their atmosphere got the best of us tonight. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, 23 Nov. 2021 Performances from some of Kentucky’s best contemporary musicians, authors and creatives. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, 23 Nov. 2021 And as good as Allen is, the Indianapolis defense isn’t focused just on stopping the game’s best passers, although stars like Tom Brady and Kyler Murray still loom on the schedule. Joel A. Erickson, The Indianapolis Star, 23 Nov. 2021 For the latest and best from Chron, sign up for our daily newsletter here. Katie Friel, Chron, 22 Nov. 2021 The next-best point margin for any period this season is Utah’s +4.5 in the fourth. Nick Lozito, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Anosmics often complain that the smelling world, including the medical profession, tends to ignore their condition, at best, and at worst to deny it. Scott Sayare, Harper's Magazine, 23 Nov. 2021 In a fresh round of betting odds Monday, DraftKings put Taylor's chances at 10th best in the league, as does Sports Betting Dime, even after the five-touchdown game. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 23 Nov. 2021 In addition to vaccines, Californians now have much broader access to therapies that can prevent severe illness, and treatment overall has improved as providers learned how to best manage care. Erin Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 23 Nov. 2021 That’s too warm for snowmaking, which is best done when the temperature is between 25-28 degrees. Julie Jag, The Salt Lake Tribune, 23 Nov. 2021 All the wines included here are best served cool, and open bottles should be stored in the refrigerator. WSJ, 23 Nov. 2021 But there’s no denying Bieber had a big year with multiple long-running hits and an album praised as a career best. Justin Curto, Vulture, 23 Nov. 2021 But the relationship between the settlers and Natives was uneasy at best, and the Wampanoag weren’t invited to the gathering. Laura Newberry, Los Angeles Times, 22 Nov. 2021 Following a weekend that was inconsistent at best and gravely concerning at worst, Michigan has its work cut out as the young season begins to heat up. Paul Nasr, Detroit Free Press, 22 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Maybe the most surprised person in the stadium was Thompson-Herah, who didn’t expect a personal best. Ken Goe For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 21 Aug. 2021 Your personal best was a little bit less than 26 feet. Ben Shpigel, New York Times, 20 Aug. 2021 Meanwhile, Andersen's throw was a mere 2 inches shy of Berry's personal best. Eddie Pells, ajc, 27 June 2021 Shaheed captured the 100 in 11.68 seconds and the 200 in 24.07, the latter a personal best. Steve Brand, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 June 2021 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Despite all of that, the Oregon GOP’s incompetence enabled Brown to best her 2018 Republican challenger by a comfortable six points. Nate Hochman, National Review, 15 Oct. 2021 Dasani did back flips at bus stops and could best the boys in a pull-up contest. New York Times, 30 Sep. 2021 Gray said Great American’s decision to go into Arizona was clouded by management’s desire to best its local competitors. San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Aug. 2021 Mario became governor in 1983 and served three terms (Andrew was desperate to best his father’s record). Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 10 Aug. 2021 Tejada hit seven in the first round, 15 in the semifinals and five in the finals to best Houston Astros slugger Lance Berkman. C.j. Doon, baltimoresun.com, 10 July 2021 This year, Novikov failed to qualify for the final round, and Stoltman was able to best the field, which included his older brother, Luke. Emily Adams, USA TODAY, 20 June 2021 Over the premiere episode, Karl repeatedly presents the season as a chance to best his fellow contestants, rather than connect with Katie. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, 15 June 2021 These odds imply a probability of 70% that Utah is the winning side this evening and a 34% chance that Memphis finds a way to best its opponent. Alex Kay, Forbes, 31 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb Dasani did back flips at bus stops and could best the boys in a pull-up contest. New York Times, 30 Sep. 2021 Gray said Great American’s decision to go into Arizona was clouded by management’s desire to best its local competitors. San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Aug. 2021 Mario became governor in 1983 and served three terms (Andrew was desperate to best his father’s record). Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 10 Aug. 2021 Tejada hit seven in the first round, 15 in the semifinals and five in the finals to best Houston Astros slugger Lance Berkman. C.j. Doon, baltimoresun.com, 10 July 2021 Over the premiere episode, Karl repeatedly presents the season as a chance to best his fellow contestants, rather than connect with Katie. Ariana Romero, refinery29.com, 15 June 2021 This year, Novikov failed to qualify for the final round, and Stoltman was able to best the field, which included his older brother, Luke. Emily Adams, USA TODAY, 20 June 2021 Power was going to best them with his second effort. Jim Ayello, The Indianapolis Star, 23 May 2021 These odds imply a probability of 70% that Utah is the winning side this evening and a 34% chance that Memphis finds a way to best its opponent. Alex Kay, Forbes, 31 May 2021

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

Learn More About best

Time Traveler for best

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near best

Bessy cerka

best

Best

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Statistics for best

Last Updated

25 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Best.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/best. Accessed 28 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for best

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

Nglish: Translation of best for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of best for Arabic Speakers

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