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

In the 2000s, Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo were typical best friends at the University of Chicago. Halley Bondy, NBC News, "Of a Kind founders: How to run a successful business with your bestie," 12 July 2019 Score Discounts on Pet Products Your furry best friends can also take advantage of the Amazon Prime Day deals with up to 30% off on Amazon exclusive pet, home, and kitchen products. Sophia Caraballo, Woman's Day, "You Can Take Advantage of These Amazon Prime Day Deals Right Now," 10 July 2019 Herrera, 14, of Coconut Creek, is a recent graduate of Lyons Creek Middle School and flossed out his eighth-grade year by winning the 1,600-meter run by running a personal best time of 4:55.12. Gary Curreri, sun-sentinel.com, "Forest Glen Middle wins first county boys track title," 21 June 2019 Kleiman ran a personal best time of 15:51.70 seconds to place third at the EMass Division 2 meet. BostonGlobe.com, "2018-19 Boys' Cross-country All-Scholastics," 10 June 2019 Merritt's attorneys said the two men were best friends and investigators overlooked another possible suspect in the killings. Fox News, "California man guilty of killing family of 4 found in desert," 11 June 2019 While both Western and Chinese aid is linked to either parties’ donor interests, Beijing doesn’t generally tie its support with improving governance and accountability, adhering to international best practices, or dealing with corruption. Abdi Latif Dahir, Quartz Africa, "China’s aid to African leaders’ home regions nearly tripled after they assumed power," 10 June 2019 The organization shares recommendations about best practices and has authored standards for teaching and courses. Ted Slowik, Daily Southtown, "Slowik: Village of Thornton may offer place to take high school courses online," 5 June 2019 Barrett said his mother was best friends with the wife of Earl Gillespie, former Milwaukee television sports reporter and an avid angler, and the two families would travel north together. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: Lake Michigan charter outing provides fresh fish and perspectives," 15 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

While there are other prescription-savings services, such as Blink Health Rx and ScriptSave WellRx, GoodRx is among the best known. Julie Washington, cleveland.com, "GoodRx lowers prescription costs for some, but questions remain on impact for others," 14 July 2019 The group is best known for Cadillac Ranch, the 1974 roadside installation outside of Amarillo, in which 10 vintage Cadillacs are half-buried nose-first at a rakish angle. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, "The epic tale of the House of the Century, the trippy Texas icon that defies polite description," 12 July 2019 Poole is best known for his buzzer-beater vs. Houston that sent U-M to the Sweet 16 in 2018. Jake Gourwitz, Detroit Free Press, "Meet the 20 Michiganders playing in NBA summer league," 11 July 2019 Beckham, 44, is one of the best-known former professional soccer players in America. Brittany Wallman, sun-sentinel.com, "David Beckham scores soccer stadium deal in Fort Lauderdale," 10 July 2019 The question is, what would be best for the Giants beyond this season? Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "Giants’ Pablo Sandoval may be hitting his way out of San Francisco," 26 June 2019 Cella said early on in the juvenile justice process, young offenders are assessed for which service would be best at addressing the behavior that got them into court. Judy Ly, The Mercury News, "Advocates push hard for mental-health emphasis for juvenile offenders," 22 June 2019 Corbat said, there’s no use in showing up to work and striving to be best in class—that is, being as good as the best banks. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Citi CEO: In an Age of Fintech Disruption, Don't Sleep on the Bank Branch," 21 June 2019 White voters were overwhelmingly more likely to see white candidates as strongest; women were more likely than men to see female candidates as able to beat Trump; a majority of black voters think a black candidate would be best. Janet Hook, latimes.com, "This poll asked voters to create their perfect candidate. Democrats picked an older white guy," 19 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Meet Seth Maddox, a graduate of Geraldine High School and soon-to-be Auburn University freshman, who just bested 365,000 other competitors who entered the competition, and 146 who were invited to the finals in Orlando. al.com, "Alabama student is PowerPoint National Champ," 30 June 2019 England, another strong competitor, won its first game, besting Scotland 2 to 1. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "The Biggest Moments from the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup So Far," 14 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb

Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who bested Tagovailoa and Alabama in the national championship game, is TSN’s first-team pick. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al.com, "Alabama has 2 Sporting News 1st-team preseason All-Americans, but Tua Tagovailoa not among them," 3 July 2019 Sanders has been leading Warren in the polls, but his support remains flat, while her numbers have been rising, even besting his in a few polls in mid-June. Emily Bazelon, New York Times, "Elizabeth Warren Is Completely Serious," 17 June 2019 Cloud’s message comes as the Mystics prepared for a key home game against the Seattle Storm, the team that bested them in the WNBA finals last year. Perry Stein, Washington Post, "Washington Mystics player vows a media ‘blackout’ after gunfire at D.C. school," 14 June 2019 Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., are each besting President Donald Trump in head-to-head matchups in a new Florida poll released Tuesday. Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY, "Poll: Biden, Sanders lead Trump in Florida," 18 June 2019 Toronto got the last laugh, however, besting the Warriors to take the title in game six. Leada Gore | Lgore@al.com, al.com, "Free Taco Bell taco: How to get your Doritos Locos Taco today," 18 June 2019 My calculations reveal that between Dec. 31, 1999, and Dec. 31, 2018, a moderate 60% stock portfolio rebalanced twice a year bested the buy-and-hold by nearly 18 percentage points. WSJ, "The Best Financial Advice I Ever Got," 16 June 2019 In closing with a 2-under-par 69 to beat Koepa by three shots, Woodland finished at 13-under 271 — a total score that has only been bested in the U.S. Open by the 18-unders of Koepka (in 2017) and Rory McIlroy (2011). San Diego Union-Tribune, "Woodland’s U.S. Open victory is all about the shot making," 16 June 2019 Both France and Germany, two of the U.S.’s biggest competitors, have won two games so far, with the French squad beating South Korea 4 to 0 and Norway 2 to 1; and the Germans besting both China and then Spain 1 to 0. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "The Biggest Moments from the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup So Far," 14 June 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

16 Jul 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 form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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!