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

Woods, who is best friends with Kylie Jenner, stepped out for a launch event for her collaboration with false eyelashes brand Eylure. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Jordyn Woods Breaks Her Silence After the Tristan Thompson Cheating Rumors," 22 Feb. 2019 After winning best picture at the 2017 Orlando Film Festival, Scott Perlman, a graduate of Barrington High School, is planning upcoming showings of his award-winning film in his hometown. Todd Shields, chicagotribune.com, "Shout Out: Scott Perlman, an award-winning filmmaker and graduate of Barrington High School," 16 May 2018 Will Prince William attend game? Prince William is due to serve as best man for his brother, Harry, at the royal wedding Saturday. Usa Today Sports, USA TODAY, "2018 FA Cup final: Chelsea-Manchester United game time, how to watch," 18 May 2018 Later, Fizdale served as best man at Scholl’s wedding. Don Norcross, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Holland coaching tree continues to flourish," 8 May 2018 Van Straubenzee and his brother Thomas were also ushers at Meghan and Harry's wedding, and Harry will reportedly be serving as best man on Saturday. Krystin Arneson, Glamour, "Happy Birthday, Meghan Markle: Inside Her First Birthday as a Royal," 4 Aug. 2018 If Harry and best man Prince William share a cute exchange, refill your champagne flute and down it. Ruth Kinane, EW.com, "Toast Meghan Markle and Prince Harry with EW's official royal wedding drinking game," 18 May 2018 While Harry has the support of his grandmother, father and brother (who will serve as best man), the groom-to-be is also involving family of his late mother, Princess Diana. Erin Hill, ajc, "Prince Harry still hasn’t met Meghan Markle’s dad. When will he?," 4 May 2018 Prince William will be serving as best man during his only brother’s wedding, so he has been invited. Lisa Ryan, The Cut, "The Ultimate Guide to the Royal Wedding Invite List," 2 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

The team from Lubbock, Texas, best known for stopping other teams from scoring, overcame the nation’s top offense to cut down the net. ... Rachel Bachman, WSJ, "Texas Tech’s Defense Trips Up Gonzaga," 31 Mar. 2019 Although Brie Larson is best known for her award-winning role in Room and leading the box office juggernaut Captain Marvel, she's also done work behind the camera, directing Unicorn Store for Netflix. Glamour, "Netflix Had the Perfect Response to Someone Who Questioned Brie Larson’s Directing Skills," 28 Mar. 2019 Alcatraz Island is best known for the prison that once inhabited its rocky cliffs, overlooking San Francisco from about a mile out from the city’s bay. Delilah Friedler, Teen Vogue, "Activist LaNada War Jack of the Bannock Nation Details Her Time Occupying Alcatraz," 21 Mar. 2019 Filming is already in the works for The Christmas Song, which stars actress Kristin Chenoweth, best known for her role as Glinda in the Broadway musical, Wicked. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Everything We Know About Hallmark Christmas Movies for 2019," 17 Mar. 2019 In 2008, the first Iron Man movie came out, launching an entire cinematic universe that routinely boasts some of the best-selling, most-talked-about movies in recent memory. Yolanda Machado, Marie Claire, "Lashana Lynch Is Changing the Face of Superhero Movies," 4 Mar. 2019 Netflix’s first best-picture nominee, may have turned the tide. Jake Coyle, The Seattle Times, "What will win best picture? It’s a maddeningly close race," 20 Feb. 2019 With so many different cards, spells, and strategies, Magic is a game best taught through watching and playing than careful (and complicated) explanation. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "How to Play 'Magic: The Gathering': Everything You Need to Know," 19 Feb. 2019 However, full moons are best viewed during dusk and dawn. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "A Super Snow Moon Is Coming Next Week," 16 Feb. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Both have dangerous quarterbacks who, at their bests, can be utterly unstoppable. Andrew Beaton, WSJ, "The Two NFL Teams Nobody Wants to Play Are Playing Each Other," 5 Jan. 2019 Gary Lineker was banging in goals, Paul Gascoigne was at his scintillating best, and the Three Lions could actually win a knockout game in an international tournament. SI.com, "World Cup Countdown: 7 Weeks to Go - 'World In Motion' & the Greatest World Cup Songs Ever," 6 May 2018 Yes, the Met orchestra exploded at its considerable best, with Nézet-Séguin finding orchestral colors and all manner of nervous rhythms that one associates with the great Georg Solti. David Patrick Stearns, Philly.com, "Yannick Nézet-Séguin's 'Elektra' at the Met proves it: NYC really, really likes him," 2 Mar. 2018 People from the community schlep here in their casual best throughout the day and night, taking their tea with classic Muslim snacks like samosa and fish cutlets. Annette Tan, Condé Nast Traveler, "16 Best Cafes in Singapore," 4 Mar. 2018 Frei enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career, finishing second to Zack Steffen in Goalkeeper of the Year voting and posting career bests in goals against average (1.03) and saves with 114, a franchise record. Seattle Times Staff, The Seattle Times, "Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei had ‘save of the year’," 13 Nov. 2018 Today, various members of the royal family put on their festive best and headed to Buckingham Palace for Queen Elizabeth’s annual Christmas lunch. Elise Taylor, Vogue, "Inside the Queen’s Annual Christmas Lunch at Buckingham Palace," 19 Dec. 2018 Similar graphs were produced when second-best and third-best works were compared and when the best and third-best were compared. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Creative types all go through hot streaks of superior production," 11 July 2018 With All-Star Kawhi Leonard sidelined for all but nine games with a quadriceps injury, Anderson started 67 games while averaging career bests in points (7.9), rebounds (5.4), assists (2.7) and steals (1.6). Tom Orsborn, San Antonio Express-News, "Anderson signs offer sheet with Grizzlies," 6 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In Wisconsin, Democrat Tony Evers bested Gov. Scott Walker, once a Republican star who ran for president in 2016. Isaac Stanley-becker, The Seattle Times, "Republicans keep control of the Senate; Democrats claim House majority," 7 Nov. 2018 In Tuesday's primary, 2016 National Teacher of the Year Jahana Hayes bested former Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman. Fox News, "The Latest: Ellison wins Minnesota attorney general primary," 14 Aug. 2018 But on Sunday, the hottest squad won that battle, besting the Storm behind 17 points from Elizabeth Williams and 16 from both Angel McCoughtry and Tiffany Hayes to earn a franchise-best seventh straight win. Evan Webeck, The Seattle Times, "Seattle’s Sue Bird leads the WNBA with 500 games played. Here’s a look back at her milestone games," 24 July 2018 To put it another way, Mr. McConnell has bested Mr. Schumer at almost every turn. William Mcgurn, WSJ, "Chuck Schumer, Foiled Again," 12 Nov. 2018 Tipirneni had bested Lesko in fundraising, piling up $734,937 for the race. David Weigel, Washington Post, "Arizona voters to pick new member of Congress to replace Trent Franks," 24 Apr. 2018 But with the 30-something bump in horsepower and extra 50 lb-ft of torque, the Zero is quicker off the line: 0 to 62 mph in 5.5 seconds, besting a stock E-Type by about a second. WSJ, "1968 Jaguar E-Type Zero: Revamping the Vintage Roadster as an Electric Car," 5 Oct. 2018 The time: 5 hours and 13 minutes, besting the previous record, which was three minutes longer. Peter Holley, chicagotribune.com, "Flying from New York to London in two hours is on the horizon, Boeing says," 29 June 2018 Garwo, a 5-foot-10, 200-pounder, finished with 1,879 yards last season, besting Steve Slaton’s school single-season mark of 1,832 back in 2004. Philly.com Staff, Philly.com, "Conwell-Egan's Patrick Garwo commits to Boston College," 27 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb

Attacks come in the final few hundred yards of the biggest climbs, where a clean rider has a chance at besting a TUE cheat. Marc Peruzzi, Outside Online, "Stop Boycotting Pro Cycling," 6 July 2018 The formerly unbeatable Kobayashi was bested by Joey Chestnut, who consumed a staggering 66 hot dogs. Alejandro De La Garza, Time, "'I Love Things That Are Absurd.' Meet the Man Who Turned Nathan's Hot Dog-Eating Contest Into a National Obsession," 3 July 2018 It’s by far the largest site of its type, having already bested competing offerings from Microsoft and Google. Klint Finley, WIRED, "Microsoft’s GitHub Deal Is Its Latest Shift From Windows," 4 June 2018 The Falcons capped an undefeated run through league by besting rival and nationally ranked Arcadia twice and likely giving them momentum entering the postseason. Charles Rich, latimes.com, "Crescenta Valley, St. Monica Academy, Flintridge Prep march on to CIF baseball playoffs," 14 May 2018 The Space Race was in full swing, and the United States was determined to best the Soviet Union in its pursuit of interstellar glory. Sam Blum, Popular Mechanics, "When Pan Am Promised To Fly Us To the Moon," 28 Feb. 2019 Democrats carried more leverage into the talks after besting Trump on the 35-day shutdown but showed flexibility in hopes on winning Trump’s signature. Andrew Taylor, The Seattle Times, "Congressional lawmakers reach deal on border wall funding," 11 Feb. 2019 On the men’s side, Frances Tiafoe, a 20-year-old American player (current ranking by the Association of Tennis Professionals: #38) bested #6 ranked Kevin Anderson of South Africa. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Here’s What You Need to Know About the 2019 Australian Open, Including How to Watch," 16 Jan. 2019 If Congress ends up besting the BJP next month, Rahul Gandhi’s failings will be glossed over. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "India’s Rahul Gandhi Faces an Electoral Test," 15 Nov. 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, 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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Learn More about best

Dictionary Entries near best

Besser block

Bessy

Bessy cerka

best

Best

bestain

bestarred

Statistics for best

Last Updated

26 Feb 2019

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 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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on best

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with best

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for best

Spanish Central: Translation of best

Nglish: Translation of best for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of best for Arabic Speakers

Comments on best

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