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

Created by British author and screenwriter Jesse Armstrong, the show has been lauded for its parallels to the current media landscape and is in the process of vying for five Emmy Awards, including best drama series. Whitney Friedlander, CNN, "'Succession' renewed for Season 3," 20 Aug. 2019 Funny and clever and best mates with a massive German Shepherd. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, "Ed Sheeran Mourns the Death of His Cat Graham," 1 Aug. 2019 Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano The chain, with a location in Clay Terrace, has earned an impressive list of accolades including best Italian and best service nods from Consumer Reports. Liz Biro, Indianapolis Star, "Every restaurant you'll try at the IndyStar Wine & Food Experience," 16 July 2019 And remember, Larsen said, pricey pet foods may not be best ones. Linda Carroll, NBC News, "After FDA warning about grain-free pet food, what's safe to feed Fido and Fluffy?," 8 July 2019 The most constructive and best criticism came from the one and only Nina Garcia. Rod Stafford Hagwood, sun-sentinel.com, "South Florida designer Sebastian Grey wins ‘Project Runway’," 14 June 2019 That is Mickelson’s beef — that the USGA ruined some of his own best chances with crispy greens and goofy setups. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Pebble Beach figures to be Mickelson’s remaining best shot at seizing U.S. Open," 12 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Legion Field is a 92-year-old stadium in Birmingham best known for its decades of hosting the Iron Bowl and the Magic City Classic (Alabama State vs. Alabama A&M). Anna Beahm | Abeahm@al.com, al, "Consultant will help determine future of Legion Field," 4 Sep. 2019 Sure, Reese Witherspoon is best known for her roles in films and shows including Big Little Lies, Gone Girl, and Legally Blonde. Angela Trakoshis, Allure, "Reese Witherspoon Just Revealed Her Natural Hair Color," 3 Sep. 2019 Oyelowo is best known for playing Martin Luther King Jr. in the 2014 biopic Selma, garnering numerous awards and nominations for his heartfelt portrayal. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Part sci-fi thriller, part crime drama, Don’t Let Go is an understated gem," 31 Aug. 2019 What to know about Crock-Pots Crock-Pot, on the other hand, is a much older brand (it's been around since the 1970s!) that's best known for its slow cookers. Amina Lake Abdelrahman, Good Housekeeping, "How to Choose Between an Instant Pot and a Crock-Pot," 27 Aug. 2019 The Italian design firm is best known for its work in the automotive realm, collaborating most famously with Ferrari on the F40, Testarossa, GTO, Daytona, and more. Wired, "Imagine the Views From This Italian-Designed Swiss Train," 8 Sep. 2019 LeWitt is best known for wall-filling grids, but his simple, endlessly renewable system was a great way of producing books, too. New York Times, "The Week in Arts: A Mini-Festival of Music and a 9/11 Remembrance," 7 Sep. 2019 Carol Lynley, best known for playing the ship’s singer in The Poseidon Adventure, has died. Maureen Lee Lenker, EW.com, "The Poseidon Adventure actress Carol Lynley dies at 77," 6 Sep. 2019 The purchase is a curious departure for Drahi, who’s best known for building a debt-laden cable and mobile phone empire in France before moving into the U.S. market over the past four years. Fortune, "Can Sotheby’s Find Sales Success by Going Private?," 6 Sep. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Companies from Norway and New Zealand pay best; those from Mexico and Taiwan give barely any premium. The Economist, "Who wins from foreign investment?," 22 Aug. 2019 Her finish at the Isle of Wight bettered two previous world bests. Richard Sandomir, New York Times, "Dale Greig, Early Women’s Marathoner, Is Dead at 81," 16 June 2019 Now the Raiders will make up for lost time, and hope to get Brown re-integrated with the system and at his explosive best by Week 1. Jerry Mcdonald, The Mercury News, "Raiders’ Antonio Brown follows the money and crisis is averted — until the next one," 20 Aug. 2019 By his third season in the NBA, the slick ball-handling lefty was an All-Star, averaging career bests with 18.8 points and 9.6 assists per game in 1994. David Furones, sun-sentinel.com, "Former NBA player Kenny Anderson doing well in rehab from stroke: ‘I’m almost back to normal’," 18 July 2019 The 27-year-old goaltender had career bests in save percentage, shutouts, goals-against average and wins in an inspiring season that saw him as a Vezina finalist and winner of the Masterton Trophy after opening up about his mental health. The Si Staff, SI.com, "Top 20 Unrestricted Free Agents Available in 2019 NHL Offseason," 27 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

It can be powered by Core i3 and i5 processors, giving it strong performance that bested almost all others on our benchmark tests. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Guidemaster: How to buy a Chromebook, plus our best picks," 7 Sep. 2019 One reason for the growth spurt was the Toronto Raptors, who bested the Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals in June. Adam Rasmi, Quartz, "The Toronto Raptors helped Canada’s economy dunk on the US," 30 Aug. 2019 Harcum managed to pull away by razor thin margins in the first and third sets, needing extra points to best the Fighting Owls. Adam Fornwalt, baltimoresun.com, "HCC men’s soccer drops opener to Essex," 28 Aug. 2019 The writing experience is nearly flawless, with the pleasing friction—and even the scritch-scritch sound—of pencil on paper that easily bests Apple's stylus on a glass iPad screen. Wired, "Digital Note-Takers Let You Store and Share Your Scrawlings," 20 Aug. 2019 The writing experience is nearly flawless, with the pleasing friction—and even the scritch-scritch sound—of pencil on paper that easily bests Apple's stylus on a glass iPad screen. Michael Calore, WIRED, "Digital Note-Takers Let You Store and Share Your Scrawlings," 20 Aug. 2019 The current record is 412 steps — a step is a transfer of energy from one object to another — and the Reactica team will try to best that at noon Saturday at the Tech’s New Venture Hall. Sal Pizarro, The Mercury News, "A giant Rube Goldberg machine is being assembled at the Tech," 7 Aug. 2019 This week, the University of California Irvine announced that an artificially intelligent system solved the puzzle in just over a second, besting the current human world record by more than two seconds. Peter Holley, courant.com, "How quickly can AI solve a Rubik’s Cube?," 17 July 2019 This week, the University of California Irvine announced that an artificially intelligent system solved the puzzle in just over a second, besting the current human world record by more than two seconds. Peter Holley, Washington Post, "How quickly can AI solve a Rubik’s Cube? In less time than it took to you read this headline.," 16 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb

Meyers, a Notre Dame Prep graduate, bested her previous world record in the women’s 400-meter freestyle S13, finishing in 4 minutes, 22.34 seconds. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Timonium’s Becca Meyers wins gold, sets world record at World Para Swimming Championships," 9 Sep. 2019 Buckeye beating In a matchup against former Ohio State offensive coordinators, Ryan Day bested Luke Fickell. Ross Dellenger, SI.com, "The Rundown: Week 2 Stars, Surprises and Statements and a New Top 10," 8 Sep. 2019 The 19-year-old Andreescu bested Caroline Wozniacki and Taylor Townsend in the tournament in order to advance to the finals against Williams. Ashley Hoffman, Time, "Meghan Markle Showed Her Support for Serena Williams at the U.S. Open Because Game Recognizes Game," 7 Sep. 2019 Twice Rafa has bested Djokovic in the U.S. Open final. oregonlive, "Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal on track for long-awaited U.S. Open showdown, but who would be the favorite?," 3 Sep. 2019 Amy Kyllo of Byron, Minn., who was also named Miss Congeniality, bested nine other finalists for the Princess Kay title, according to a news release issued by Midwest Dairy. Nick Woltman, Twin Cities, "Olmsted County college student crowned 66th Princess Kay of the Milky Way," 21 Aug. 2019 The jersey's price bested the winning bid for a dual signed photograph of baseball legends Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, the only one of its kind known to exist. Allen Kim, CNN, "President Obama's high school basketball jersey nets $120,000 at auction," 19 Aug. 2019 The sale bested the previous high of $19.75 million set five years ago when Lisa Marie Presley sold her estate to hip-hop artist Kanye West and his wife, reality television personality Kim Kardashian West. Neal J. Leitereg, latimes.com, "Top Sales: Bel-Air estate of daytime soap great pulls in $31 million," 12 July 2019 But when Smith still had Franklin’s mark bested at the 100-meter mark, Paul — who was in attendance — knew the record was in serious danger. Jace Frederick, Twin Cities, "Lakeville swimmer Regan Smith has two world records, endless possibilities," 16 Aug. 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

27 Aug 2019

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 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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