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

It is well established in corporate governance circles that an independent chairman is best practice. Jonas Kron, Fortune, "Microsoft Does These 2 Things to Stay out of Trouble. Facebook Should Try Them," 8 June 2018 Macri’s government has created hope that Argentina can implement international best practices and move away from the cronyism, poor governance, bad economic practices and populist policies of Macri’s predecessors. The Christian Science Monitor, "Argentina’s cry for help: How the world can respond," 16 May 2018 But these days, uncontrolled re-entries like that of Tiangong-1 are against international best practice, according to CNN. Julissa Treviño, Smithsonian, "China’s Tiangong-1 Finally Crashes Back to Earth," 2 Apr. 2018 Barega, the World indoor 3000 meters silver medalist, finished in second place with a season best time of 13:02.67. Jenna West, SI.com, "Watch: Ethiopian Runner Nearly Falls, Tries to Pull Other Runner Down by Shorts," 5 July 2018 Karakolis, a sixth-grader, was the fastest 400-meter runner on the team with a personal best time of slightly over one minute (1:05.73). Alex Kushel, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Christa McAuliffe tracksters in top form at middle school county meet," 17 June 2018 There were two other breakthroughs for the Generals: freshman Aitza Romero won the 800 in a personal best time of 2:20.35 and sophomore Akili Pleas-Carnie took the 300 hurdles in a season-best 46.05. Mark Stewart, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Strong in the sprints and relays, Milwaukee King ready for run at another state title," 24 May 2018 The wheelchair division saw a previous best time record shattered by its own holder as Aaron Pike crossed the finish line in 46 minutes and 12 seconds. Marty Pearl, The Courier-Journal, "Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon and miniMarathon take over downtown Louisville's streets," 28 Apr. 2018 Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge won the men's race with a time of 2:04:17, just 80 seconds off the world record, while his compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot came in first among the elite women, crossing the line in a personal best time of 2:18:31. Judith Vonberg, CNN, "UK Masterchef contestant dies in London Marathon," 23 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Joshua Tauberer is a civic hacker based in the District of Columbia best known for founding GovTrack.us, which created the first comprehensive open data for legislation in the US Congress. Joshua Tauberer, Ars Technica, "How I changed the law with a GitHub pull request," 25 Nov. 2018 Eloquii may be best known for their quirky yet sophisticated clothing, but their lingerie offerings are equally as stylish. Shammara Lawrence, Teen Vogue, "9 Size-Inclusive Lingerie Brands to Support Instead of Victoria's Secret," 14 Nov. 2018 Autumn de Wilde, who is best known for her work on music videos will reportedly direct, and the script is by Eleanor Catton, who won the 2013 Man Booker Prize for her novel The Luminaries. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "A New Adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma Is in the Works," 26 Oct. 2018 Thompson, best known then as a pageant queen, immediately hit it off with the hitmaker 15 years her senior. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "Linda Thompson Just Posted a Rare Photo of Elvis Presley on Her Instagram," 22 Oct. 2018 Drew and Jonathan Scott are best known for their popular HGTV show Property Brothers, but the duo has expanded their empire with other ventures. Temi Adebowale, House Beautiful, "The Property Brothers Are Getting Their Own Sitcom On Fox," 18 Oct. 2018 As dangerous as botulinum is, precise medical applications in tiny doses — best known as Botox — can treat several conditions, including incontinence, strabismus (crossed eyes) and, of course, wrinkles. Gemma Tarlach, Discover Magazine, "20 Things You Didn't Know About ... Poison," 25 Sep. 2018 Game of Thrones is the HBO adaptation of George R.R. Martin's best-selling Song of Ice and Fire series of novels—for those of you who've been living under a rock since the show debuted in 2011 and turned into a bona fide global phenomenon. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Here’s the first teaser for the final season of Game of Thrones," 13 Nov. 2018 That show also sounds a bit like Kwan's best-selling book, which centers on a rich and powerful family in Singapore. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Crazy Rich Asians Author Kevin Kwan Is Moving to TV with The Emperor of Malibu," 26 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

His bests are 315 pounds on the the bench (there is a pause once the bar hits the chest), 555 in the squat and 651 in the dead. Richard Obert, azcentral, "After 2 football ACL tears, Casteel's Luke Musselman finds records in powerlifting," 5 July 2018 The script’s at its intermittent best with the comedy. Mark Feeney, BostonGlobe.com, "In ‘Uncle Drew,’ Kyrie dribbles, Kyrie shoots, Kyrie acts," 27 June 2018 The scene was meant to evoke Ms. Jampol’s sense of what Newark, at its creative best, can look like. New York Times, "Another Royal Wedding. This One Newark Style.," 15 June 2018 Wastek said, after improving her previous best by 3.5 inches. Rick Armstrong, Aurora Beacon-News, "Sarah Schmitt provides spark in cold snap as Naperville North girls take title of Gus Scott Invitational," 14 Apr. 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Same thing happened in Missouri, where Josh Hawley bested incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill. James Freeman, WSJ, "Trump, Kavanaugh and McCain Drive Election Results," 7 Nov. 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 Combine bests The NFL Scouting Combine is being held in Indianapolis for the 32nd straight year, and the NFL has been holding a league-inclusive combine since 1985. Mark Inabinett, AL.com, "NFL Combine: What's happening on Monday?," 5 Mar. 2018 And in Washington, the only GOP congressman from New York City, Rep. Dan Donovan of Staten Island, was bested by Democrat Max Rose. Jimmy Vielkind, WSJ, "New York Republicans Plan Transition to Minority Party," 11 Nov. 2018 Well, in their season opener on Monday Night Football, the Lions were bested by a rookie quarterback — Sam Darnold — making his first career start. Mike Vorel, The Seattle Times, "Five things to know about the Seahawks’ next opponent, the Detroit Lions," 23 Oct. 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 District and Arlington were bested only by Minneapolis and St. Paul, the Twin Cities that claimed the top two spots. Justin Wm. Moyer, Washington Post, "Parks in D.C. and Arlington are among the nation’s best, a survey says," 24 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb

Why Go NowThe gorgeously sun-bleached, 58-villa Six Senses Ninh Van Bay has been quietly besting the competition for years, luring a chic yet low-key clientele that’s a world apart from the boozy bacchanal of Nha Trang itself. Peter Jon Lindberg, Condé Nast Traveler, "How to Take Your Vietnam Trip to the Next Level," 20 Nov. 2018 But the Alteñas are an all-female mariachi group — and since their inception in 2002, their rhythmic guitarrón strums and proud trumpet blasts have bested many of their male counterparts at invitation-only competitions. Harper Smith, Allure, "The Beauty Secrets of Mariachi Las Alteñas, an All-Female Mariachi Band in the Heart of Texas," 13 Nov. 2018 According to data from CB Insights, the industry saw $882.3 million in venture capital investment last year across 103 deals, and has already bested that in 2018, racking up $1.38 billion across 61 deals. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Can artificial intelligence change construction?," 12 Oct. 2018 Many drivers, Power among them, have said the 2018 champion will be the driver who bests adapts to the difficulties of driving with the new universal aero kit. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "IndyCar season preview: Penske, Ganassi look to close out decade of dominance," 5 Mar. 2018 Many drivers, Power among them, have said the 2018 champion will be the driver who bests adapts to the difficulties of driving with the new universal aero kit. Jim Ayello, USA TODAY Sports, "IndyCar team previews: Penske, Ganassi look to close out decade of dominance," 5 Mar. 2018 In addition to Bui, Martel Washpun (123), Oscar Perez (132), Alex Donis (152) and Darius Fulgrum (201), who bested Jones, were Houston’s other titlists. John Henry, star-telegram, "On a night of Golden Gloves firsts, Fort Worth boxers fall short | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 3 Mar. 2018 Families have a hand in choosing a student from a variety of countries who best fit into their family lifestyle. Rich Heileman, cleveland.com, "'Chef O' captures restaurant industry award: Around The Town," 2 Mar. 2018 The mayor was voicing a slogan from a Waubonsie Valley High School student, part of a marketing contest-winning effort from the school that bested students at Metea Valley and Nequa Valley high schools. Steve Lord, Aurora Beacon-News, "Route 59 study looks at shopping alternatives in Aurora," 9 Feb. 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

19 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for best

The first known use of best was before the 12th 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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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

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

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