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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Maria works at a local bridal shop and is best friends with Anita and the Sharks. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Everything You Need to Know About the "West Side Story" Remake," 17 Apr. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Based in New York, Wu is best known for his ability to blur the lines between classic sportswear and elevated couture—a practice of indulgence and restraint that parallels the art of mid-century modern. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Best Room Wins," 30 May 2019 From the start of Dance Moms, Chloe was painted as second-best to Abby Lee Miller’s long standing favorite dancer, Maddie Ziegler. Mackenzie Dunn, Woman's Day, "How Chloe Lukasiak Is Moving On From Her 'Dance Moms' Past," 26 May 2019 Fallingwater, the Guggenheim, Prairie School houses: These are the works for which Frank Lloyd Wright, the pioneering American architect, is best known. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "These Forgotten Frank Lloyd Wright Designs Have a House Beautiful Connection," 23 May 2019 Indie app developer Panic may be best known for its fun and useful Mac and iOS software, but its latest venture is decidedly outside the box. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "The Playdate gaming handheld is a Game Boy-Model T mashup by Firewatch publisher Panic," 23 May 2019 The American Conservative Union, the group best known for hosting the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, gave Byrd an award in February. Tyler Kingkade, Teen Vogue, "Tennessee Women Are Protesting David Byrd, the Lawmaker Accused of Molesting Teen Girls," 23 May 2019 Following her best-selling debut book, Julia Reed’s South, this brand-new cookbook from frequent ED contributor Julia Reed offers recipes, party playlists, and bit of New Orleans history for anyone who wants to throw a spirited Big Easy bash. Jennifer Milne, ELLE Decor, "How to Throw a New Orleans-Style Fete, According to Julia Reed," 11 Apr. 2019 Amandla, who turns 20 in October, is all of those things and so much more—including the star of The Hate U Give (out October 19), the film based on Angie Thomas’s best-selling novel about a teen who witnesses her friend get shot by a police officer. Seventeen, "Amandla Stenberg On Being Proud of Her Sexuality," 19 Sep. 2018 The label is best known for their bustiers, minimal slips, and crop tops—most notably their Instagram-famous pearl top, which would also suit a non-traditional bride. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Sophie Turner Wore a Jumpsuit for Her Las Vegas Wedding to Joe Jonas Last Night," 2 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

His bests came in the high jump (6-6), 400 (50.12) and javelin (157-1). Union-tribune, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Prep Athletes of the Week," 10 Apr. 2018 Thirteen of their players had career highs in points, led by William Karlsson (78 points, 53 more than his previous best) and Jonathan Marchessault (75 points, 24 more than his previous best). Sam Carchidi, Philly.com, "It's easy to see why Vegas is in Stanley Cup Finals and Flyers aren't | Sam Carchidi," 25 May 2018 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Here is a ranking of the Costco food court menu items, from our least favorite to best the best in-store eats. Alex Aronson, Redbook, "The 14 Best Costco Food Court Menu Items, Ranked," 4 Apr. 2019 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 Defending champion Isner also bested a Canadian teenager, 18-year-old qualifier Felix Auger-Aliassime, 7-6 (3), 7-6 (4). Steven Wine, The Seattle Times, "Federer, defending champ Isner to meet in Miami Open final," 30 Mar. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb

That’s because the Core i9-9900KS is besting the vanilla K by delivering faster clocks to all its cores. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Intel reveals the beastly Core i9-9900KS, likely its fastest gaming chip (for real)," 26 May 2019 But on Sunday, Curry bested Mulder, and everyone else in the field. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Passion for golf has been with Stephen Curry since an early age," 12 July 2018 On top of all of that, his times bested those of his father, Andy, who won the 3200 in 1991 and 1992, and the 1600 in 1992 while running for Homestead. Curt Hogg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The 8 stars of spring: Homestead's Drew Bosley, Whitnall's Haley Wynn among the best and brightest from 2018 spring sports," 18 June 2018 The Wolverines bested 30th ranked Haddam-Killingworth by an 8-2 score in the tournament's initial round and went on to a narrow 3-1 victory over East Haven. Janice Steinhagen, Courant Community, "Griswold State Class M Softball Runnerup," 11 June 2018 Recovering with a strong 6-4, 6-2 victory, Rouf bested Ana Badulescu of Hamilton to take third in the state. Katherine Fitzgerald, azcentral, "Arizona High School Girls Tennis Player of the Year nominees," 31 May 2018 Wickens bested a foursome of rookies, including A.J. Foyt Racing's Matheus Leist. Jim Ayello, Indianapolis Star, "Robert Wickens wins Indy 500 rookie of the year," 28 May 2018 On Tuesday night's two-hour, second-part finale, the 14-year-old singer — the youngest ever to win the competition — bested three other contestants in a finale round that saw each perform a solo, a duet with their coach and an original song. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Voice': Season 14's Winner Revealed," 22 May 2018 Though the majority of runners qualify for the race by besting difficult time standards, there are more than a thousand participants who gain entry by raising money for charities and non-profits. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "6 Things You Should Know Before Watching the 2019 Boston Marathon," 11 Apr. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about best

Dictionary Entries near best

Besser block

Bessy

Bessy cerka

best

Best

bestain

bestarred

Statistics for best

Last Updated

23 Apr 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

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!