\ 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 other name is for Krista Clement, one of the best players in state history. Mick Mccabe, Detroit Free Press, "These are Son of Swami’s favorite nicknames, explained," 11 Sep. 2020 Indiana's capital city has 8 players and Fort Wayne 5 on this list of the best NFL players from Indiana high schools over the past 20 years. Scott Horner, The Indianapolis Star, "20 for '20: Indiana high school players who made the biggest impact in the NFL," 10 Sep. 2020 The British schoolboys -- six-year-olds Ayaan Moosa and Mikaeel Ishaa from east London -- are best friends and set up the stand to raise funds for charity in July after learning about the crisis. Sara Spary, CNN, "Angelina Jolie makes surprise donation to kids' charity lemonade stand," 10 Sep. 2020 The best thing the Republican Party could do for its president's re-election campaign now would be to take Democrats up on their offer for trillions in additional rescue dollars. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "Republicans are going to try to drown the economy," 10 Sep. 2020 Days later, on April 24, Prescott awoke to his father and best friends in his bedroom. Jori Epstein, USA TODAY, "Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott on why he opened up on depression, brother’s suicide: 'Being a leader is about being genuine'," 10 Sep. 2020 Looking at who is given the microphone is the best way to identify the values of an organization. Rachel King, Fortune, "Book recommendations from Fortune’s 40 under 40 in government and policy," 10 Sep. 2020 Warner, 23, one of best players on one of the NFL’s top defenses, was activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list four days before the season opener against the Cardinals at Levi’s Stadium. Eric Branch, SFChronicle.com, "49ers activate linebacker Fred Warner from COVID-19 list," 9 Sep. 2020 Miami might have struggled last season to a 6-7 record, but the Canes went out and recruited one of the best players in college football in Houston transfer quarterback D’Eriq King. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, "UAB can’t take next step without wins in big games," 9 Sep. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Please consider the number of people that may stream this project with you, and select a price that works best for you. Gege Reed, The Courier-Journal, "Louisville shows this week: 'Dracula,' 'George Gershwin Alone,' Magician Cody Clark & more," 13 Sep. 2020 The curl creme works best on tighter curls, and Kimble says that its texture and effect is like a cross between a cream and a gel. Jihan Forbes, Allure, "Everything You Need to Know About Kim Kimble's New Line for Natural Hair," 11 Sep. 2020 An extra room, guest bedroom or even an alcove in the child’s bedroom works best. Dallas News, "Get your students ‘home school’ ready," 6 Sep. 2020 There's likely to be a lot of trial and error as companies try to figure out what works best for their employees and for the business. Kathryn Vasel, CNN, "Some employees in the office. Some at home. How to make it work," 3 Sep. 2020 Ultimately, a personal loan payment calculator will do a great deal of the hard work for you in figuring out which loan works best for your specific situation. Jennifer Yellin, CNN Underscored, "The smart way to get a personal loan," 31 Aug. 2020 This basic type of navigation works best for short distances, generally less than half a millimeter. Lucy Hicks, Science | AAAS, "Watch amoebas solve a microscopic version of London’s Hampton Court Maze," 27 Aug. 2020 Each family needs to figure out what works best for their circumstances. Lisa Boone, Star Tribune, "Is sending students back to college safe?," 25 Aug. 2020 Scholarships are available for new and transfer students, and while some are on a full-time, four-year track, others study part-time if that’s what works best for them. Anchorage Daily News, "Tribal University’s new president wants Alaska students to bring their ‘whole selves’," 25 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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, "Two sports writers drafted their favorite sports movies; who wound up with the better library?," 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, "Track and field preview: Southwest thrower Morgan Fey creates magic with discus, shot put," 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, "Former ASU basketball standout Romello White transfers to Mississippi," 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, "Mansfield Timberview three-star defensive lineman Terrell Tilmon commits to Oregon," 1 May 2020 Crossing the finish line — and setting a personal best — isn’t just a good race performance. Washington Post, "My son survived Sandy Hook. It’s changed me as a parent.," 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, "California’s healthiest counties, ranked," 1 Mar. 2020 His previous best was 28 on April 10, 2019, while with Oklahoma City. Pat Graham, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' Rose, Wood score 20 points in loss at Denver Nuggets, 115-98," 26 Feb. 2020 Peterson set career bests with four catches and 63 yards in an otherwise miserable loss at Utah last October. Michael Lev, azcentral, "Counting down the most valuable Arizona Wildcats for 2019 football season," 9 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In addition to competing against each other, Lieberman and Warnock are trying to best their Republican rivals, Loeffler and U.S. Representative Doug Collins. Brett Pulley, Bloomberg.com, "New Swing State Georgia Could Decide Control of the Senate," 28 Aug. 2020 Clay Heuett arrowed this world-class giant in Arizona’s Unit 3C on September 21, 2003, and news of his bull spread quickly, as the 440-inch gross score seemed certain to best the existing world record of 420-2/8 net. Scott Bestul, Field & Stream, "The 10 Biggest World Record Elk," 7 Aug. 2020 An American University history professor who has predicted nearly every presidential election since 1984 projects former Vice President Joe Biden will best President Trump in the general election. Washington Examiner, "History professor who predicted Trump 2016 win forecasts Biden victory in 2020," 6 Aug. 2020 Twenty-first century China under President Xi Jinping sees itself on a historic mission to prove that its system of centralized, authoritarian control twinned with a powerhouse economy can best the Western order. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Two things are clear about the alarming plummet in US relations with China," 29 July 2020 From Beijing’s perspective, while a Democratic presidency may restore a more predictable form of American diplomacy, that may not best serve Chinese interests. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, "Why China Wants Trump to Win," 7 July 2020 As part of his campaign to best a French rival, Belzoni befriended local people near the Valley of the Kings who worked as tomb robbers. National Geographic, "This pharaoh's painted tomb was missing its mummy," 25 June 2020 In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the district over Trump, and in 2018, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke easily bested Ted Cruz in that area for their Senate contest. Dallas News, "Rep. John Carter, Genevieve Collins implore President Trump’s organizers to keep Texas red," 25 Apr. 2020 The Chiefs easily bested the Oakland Raiders 40-9 last weekend and have won their past two games. Ryan R. Bonini, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots odds, lines, picks and best bets," 5 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb In addition to competing against each other, Lieberman and Warnock are trying to best their Republican rivals, Loeffler and U.S. Representative Doug Collins. Brett Pulley, Bloomberg.com, "New Swing State Georgia Could Decide Control of the Senate," 28 Aug. 2020 Clay Heuett arrowed this world-class giant in Arizona’s Unit 3C on September 21, 2003, and news of his bull spread quickly, as the 440-inch gross score seemed certain to best the existing world record of 420-2/8 net. Scott Bestul, Field & Stream, "The 10 Biggest World Record Elk," 7 Aug. 2020 An American University history professor who has predicted nearly every presidential election since 1984 projects former Vice President Joe Biden will best President Trump in the general election. Washington Examiner, "History professor who predicted Trump 2016 win forecasts Biden victory in 2020," 6 Aug. 2020 Twenty-first century China under President Xi Jinping sees itself on a historic mission to prove that its system of centralized, authoritarian control twinned with a powerhouse economy can best the Western order. Stephen Collinson, CNN, "Two things are clear about the alarming plummet in US relations with China," 29 July 2020 From Beijing’s perspective, while a Democratic presidency may restore a more predictable form of American diplomacy, that may not best serve Chinese interests. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, "Why China Wants Trump to Win," 7 July 2020 As part of his campaign to best a French rival, Belzoni befriended local people near the Valley of the Kings who worked as tomb robbers. National Geographic, "This pharaoh's painted tomb was missing its mummy," 25 June 2020 Dye was a direct extension of Bryant, and the pupil later bested his mentor in Bryant’s final SEC game of his career. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, "Iconic Auburn coach Pat Dye was symbol of SEC toughness," 1 June 2020 Woods and Mickelson are familiar foes, with Woods besting his compatriot over the majority of their respective careers. Carolyn Manno, CNN, "Tom Brady shows he's human as Tiger Woods backs up trash talk at 'Champions for Charity' golf match," 25 May 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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Learn More about best

Time Traveler for best

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for best

Last Updated

13 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Best.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/best. Accessed 22 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for best

How to pronounce Best (audio)

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)
\ 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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