\ 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 sliding second row is split 40/20/40 and the center section is removable, leaving two captain's chairs and improving access to the third row, which is still best for kids. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, "2022 Acura MDX Will Have More Performance, Luxury, and Style," 14 Oct. 2020 Arizona Game and Fish has a lengthy guide of what foods are best for your new tortoise. Shaena Montanari, The Arizona Republic, "Desert tortoises need homes. Here's what to know about adopting these reptiles in Phoenix," 12 Oct. 2020 Adjustable skates are best for casual skaters rather than competitive figure skaters or hockey players. Noelle Ihli, chicagotribune.com, "The best children’s ice skate," 10 Oct. 2020 Colors are best when high quality foliage - a product of a warm, moist summer is exposed to sunny, cool fall days. Paul Douglas, Star Tribune, "Sunday Night Storms. Tumbling Temps Next Week," 10 Oct. 2020 Check out our handy guide to which Theragun device is best for you. Louryn Strampe, Wired, "Become a Prime Day Pro With These Tips and Early Deals," 10 Oct. 2020 The Ravens secondary is one of the league’s best, but it will be tested Sunday, especially if the pass rush can’t get going. Baltimore Sun Staff, baltimoresun.com, "Ravens vs. Bengals staff picks: Who will win Sunday’s Week 5 game at M&T Bank Stadium?," 9 Oct. 2020 His winning percentage of .690 is best of any pitcher during the 20th Century. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, "Whitey Ford, legendary New York Yankees pitcher, dead at 91," 9 Oct. 2020 Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos touted school choice in a visit Thursday with parents in Waukesha, saying many families have been unhappy with education during the pandemic and should be able to decide what school is best for their children. Annysa Johnson, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Education Secretary DeVos touts school choice during the pandemic in Waukesha visit," 8 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Kevin Murphy, celebrity hairstylist and founder of his namesake hair care line, said ionic technology really works best for frizzy hair. Nicole Saunders, NBC News, "Best hair dryers and blow dryers of 2020, according to celebrity hairstylists," 16 Oct. 2020 But one thing’s clear: The U.S. approach works best for the labor force if the unemployed get sufficient help. Washington Post, "As U.S. unemployed soared, Germany’s barely budged. Is America’s safety net enough?," 13 Oct. 2020 This method works best with tablets (as opposed to capsules), according to a 2014 study published in The Annals of Family Medicine, which tested two techniques designed to help people who had trouble swallowing pills on 151 adults. Korin Miller, SELF, "How to Swallow a Pill If You Find It Completely Impossible," 13 Oct. 2020 Stack or use them side by side to create the storage solution that works best for you. Popsci Commerce Team, Popular Science, "The best bins and baskets to keep your pantry perfectly organized," 13 Oct. 2020 And that process works best when voters take the time to learn about the issues and the candidates on their ballot. Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune, "Robert Gehrke: This big change to Utah’s ballot should lead to more thoughtful voters," 12 Oct. 2020 This method works best for aggressive herbs such as oregano and marjoram and herbs with tough stems and small leaves like thyme. Paul Stephen, ExpressNews.com, "How to preserve the herbs from your spring garden, and then how to cook with those preserved herbs," 7 Oct. 2020 The device works best on your forehead and cheeks, and is a little more finicky around your nose and eyes. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "This New Makeup Printer Is Like Photoshop for Dark Spots," 6 Oct. 2020 Hartman’s method works best with a person about whom much is known, like Du Bois or Wells. Annette Gordon-reed, The New York Review of Books, "Rebellious History," 6 Oct. 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

19 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Best.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/best. Accessed 27 Oct. 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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Comments on best

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