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

The lives of best friends diverge after high-school graduation and their encounter with a pathetic loner. Los Angeles Times, "Here are the feature and TV films airing the week of Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019," 11 Aug. 2019 These two people could be best friends in another universe. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "From Fleabag to Stranger Things, It’s the Summer of Brett Gelman," 29 July 2019 Wright was best friends with Carr, Wright’s family said. Nicholas Rondinone, courant.com, "With killing late Wednesday, July is Hartford’s deadliest month in more than four years," 26 July 2019 Just me and my best friends living our best lives.. Brianne Tracy, PEOPLE.com, "Demi Lovato Is 'Very Focused on Staying Healthy' as She Works on Upcoming Album, Says Source," 25 July 2019 One of the big, exciting industry stories coming out of Hollywood this week is that famous best friends Ben Affleck and Matt Damon are teaming up again to co-write and co-star in a new film, which reportedly will be directed by Ridley Scott. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Ben Affleck and Matt Damon’s vexing new film: Co-starring as men suffering after a woman’s rape," 23 July 2019 Lynch already had an important role in Captain Marvel, playing single mother and pilot Maria Rambeau, who's one of Carol Danvers's oldest and best friends. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lashana Lynch Probably Isn't the New James Bond, but She Is the New 007," 21 July 2019 Royals expert Katie Nicholls told Glamour back in March that while the two may not be best friends (which is totally normal!) rumors of a feud were overblown. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle Are Reportedly Bonding Over Motherhood," 17 July 2019 As children, Jim and Cliff were best friends, as close as brothers. Michele Langevine Leiby, chicagotribune.com, "In ‘The Gone Dead,’ a woman’s questions about her father’s death reveal a town’s racist history," 17 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Although best known for starring in The Wonder Years and The Princess Bride, Fred Savage also appeared in the 2002 film Austin Powers in Goldmember with none other than Beyoncé. Rachel Yang, EW.com, "Fred Savage’s reunion with Austin Powers costar Beyoncé surprised even him," 11 Aug. 2019 That would be the best-case scenario again this season as the Rams try to return to the Super Bowl. Los Angeles Times, "Rams’ Blake Bortles looks like capable fill-in QB in preseason loss to Raiders," 10 Aug. 2019 Joyce, who is best known for her beauty videos, has over 2 million subscribers on YouTube. Georgia Slater, PEOPLE.com, "YouTube Star, 22, Found 'Safe and Well' After Missing for 10 Days Near London," 10 Aug. 2019 The movie, full of Springsteen’s best known songs, ignited buzz at last winter’s Sundance Film Festival and is based on British journalist Sarfraz Manzoor’s memoir, Greetings from Bury Park. Keith Campbell, Dallas News, "'Blinded by the Light' captures how Bruce Springsteen reaches hungry hearts like mine," 9 Aug. 2019 The best-case scenario of loving someone isn’t an unbroken stream of easy, happy feelings. Washington Post, "Carolyn Hax: Keeping a cancer scare a secret doesn’t serve anyone," 7 Aug. 2019 The best-case scenario of loving someone isn’t an unbroken stream of easy, happy feelings. Carolyn Hax, The Mercury News, "Carolyn Hax: Should I share my terrifying health scare with family?," 7 Aug. 2019 Craig Brewer, the director best known for Hustle & Flow, is helming the project. Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, "Wesley Snipes Joins Eddie Murphy in 'Coming to America' Sequel (Exclusive)," 7 Aug. 2019 The best-case scenario of loving someone isn't an unbroken stream of easy, happy feelings. Carolyn Hax, oregonlive.com, "Carolyn Hax: Should you scare loved ones with your cancer scare?," 6 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

William Ames had his personal best in winning the event, while Thomas Shank and Spencer Bakke took second and third place, respectively. baltimoresun.com, "Aberdeen Dive Team extends win streak to three," 16 July 2019 After averaging career bests of 26.6 points and 7.3 rebounds in the regular season, Leonard raised his averages to 30.5 and 9.1 in the playoffs. courant.com, "Raptors president ‘confident’ Leonard will return to champs," 26 June 2019 On the track at LSU, Jackson has personal bests of 10.22 seconds in the 100 meters and 6.63 in the 60 meters. Andrew Lopez, NOLA.com, "LSU's Donte Jackson goes to Carolina Panthers in second round of NFL Draft," 27 Apr. 2018 Just this year, King ran the fastest time for a 12-year-old in Kentucky in the 100, 12.89 seconds, beating his previous best times this year of 13.08 and 13.02 (which were also the fastest times in his age group in Kentucky). Robert Rimpson, The Courier-Journal, "Meet King Combest, a track prodigy and son of one of Kentucky's all-time greats," 5 July 2019 Sullivan was advised by Zane Johnson of Philadelphia Lawyers for Social Equity that his best option would be to seek a limited access order to have his criminal record sealed to prevent prospective employers from seeing his conviction. Mensah M. Dean, Philly.com, "Dozens spend MLK Day looking for a second chance at a clean record," 15 Jan. 2018 The Schertz parade, which traveled mostly along Main Street, featured nearly 100 entries, including floats, marching bands and revelers dressed in their patriotic best. Brooke Lamantia And Austin Taylor, ExpressNews.com, "It’s a red, white and blue celebration at local Fourth of July parade," 4 July 2019 Hull also set a personal best but finished in 4:06.27, about three-tenths of a second after Johnson crossed the finish line. Stephen Ruiz, orlandosentinel.com, "Lake Brantley grad gives Central Florida top 2 collegiate running times in women’s 1,500 meters ever," 9 June 2019 The key might not be in throwing in a ton of new exercise variations, but leaning into working on doing your absolute best on those core movements and working to refine them. Casey Johnston, SELF, "Ask a Swole Woman: What Can I Do If I'm Bored of My Lifting Routine?," 24 Apr. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

While the new Lion King will most likely make piles of money (thanks to heavy marketing, existing fan nostalgia, and a savvy Beyoncé casting), creating a movie that bests the beloved original is easier said than done. Alex Abad-santos, Vox, "The Lion King remake isn’t a better movie, but it did a few things better than the original.," 17 July 2019 That’s when Thorns substitute Tyler Lussi stunned the Houston defense and silenced the crowd with a shot sent curling near post from well outside the box that bested the keeper for the game-tying goal in the 70th minute. Tim Brown, oregonlive.com, "Portland Thorns rally for thrilling 2-1 win over Houston Dash, claim top spot in NWSL standings," 30 June 2019 The Bears allowed a league-low 144 points, an average of 10.3 per game that bests the ’85 team’s 12.4. Will Larkin, chicagotribune.com, "Ranking the 100 best Bears players ever: No. 75, Bennie McRae," 23 June 2019 The two duke it out for one round where Bruce bests the newcomer, but in the following round, Booth easily overtakes the martial arts legend — appearing to be the supreme sportsman. Jen Juneau, PEOPLE.com, "Bruce Lee's Daughter Slams His 'Caricature'-Like Portrayal in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," 30 July 2019 Those standings stand in contrast to this year’s first quarter, when O’Rourke and Castro bested the field in Texas by raising $2.2 million and $420,000, respectively, in itemized donations. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "Are top Democratic presidential hopefuls cannibalizing O’Rourke and Castro’s Texas fundraising?," 26 July 2019 Niemann won the men’s division handily — posting a score of 15.17, besting the runner-up from the University of North Florida by more than five points. Justin Lafferty, San Diego Union-Tribune, "PLNU’s Niemann changes look, turns into a national surfing champ," 22 July 2019 All in all, Endgame has grossed $2.79 billion at the global box office, besting Avatar‘s total by only about $1 million. Adam Epstein, Quartzy, "“Avengers: Endgame” is now the biggest movie ever. But that’s still not as impressive as what “Avatar” did," 22 July 2019 The Lion King is also poised to score the top opening for the month of July, besting the final Harry Potter pic ($169 million), not adjusted for inflation. Pamela Mcclintock, Billboard, "Box Office: 'The Lion King' Bites Off Huge $78.5M Friday," 20 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb

On its way to the title game, the Pioneers bested Foothill Tech, 84-45, in the opening round, Pomona, 77-64, in the second round, Wiseburn-Da Vinci, 75-49, in the quarterfinals and No. Vincent Nguyen, Burbank Leader, "Looking Back: Providence excels amidst challenges in new league," 6 Aug. 2019 In 2012, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney bested President Barack Obama there by 22 points. Tom Benning, Dallas News, "Kenny Marchant becomes fourth Texas congressman to retire as GOP exodus grows," 5 Aug. 2019 When the two went head to head in Fraser’s first and Froning’s last Games, the veteran bested the newcomer by 50 points. Tess Demeyer, USA TODAY, "Rich Froning, 'Fittest Man in History,' may have company as Mat Fraser chases his record," 31 July 2019 But Levinson bested Waters through middle-class approbation, not through talent. Armond White, National Review, "The Baltimore Culture Wars: A History," 31 July 2019 Madison’s time of 32.22 seconds in the breaststroke bested the previous record from 1990 and her time of 12.90 seconds in the butterfly bettered the mark from 1987. Brent Kennedy, baltimoresun.com, "All-City swim meet caps 2019 Columbia Neighborhood Swim League season," 29 July 2019 Beuzard bested 21 in-person competitors to win the $3,000 grand prize and qualify for the worldwide contest. Mark Lieberman, Washington Post, "A formula for success: D.C. native vies for worldwide Excel title after winning nationwide championship," 25 July 2019 The president bested even Democratic contender Bernie Sanders in the small-donor sweepstakes. Ben Christopher, The Mercury News, "Who in California is donating to Trump’s campaign and why?," 20 July 2019 This current winning run bests a three-game streak from last July. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Late drama gives Minnesota United a 1-0 win over FC Dallas," 13 July 2019

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

13 Aug 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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