\ 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.



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.


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


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


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 whole Trump family was in attendance, with Donald Trump Jr. serving as best man. Gregory E. Miller, Town & Country, "Who Is Lara Trump? 10 Things to Know About the President’s Daughter-in-Law," 21 Aug. 2019 Their 1969 wedding at Sacred Heart Church in San Jose was certainly a groovy affair, with longtime Bay Area sportscaster Hal Ramey serving as best man (and probably calling play-by-play during the ceremony). Sal Pizarro, The Mercury News, "New ‘Backyard’ opens in San Jose’s once-seedy Fountain Alley," 17 Aug. 2019 Meanwhile, Chmerkovskiy’s brother and fellow DWTS pro Val Chmerkovskiy served as best man. Joelle Goldstein, PEOPLE.com, "Peta Murgatroyd and Maksim Chmerkovskiy Celebrate Their 2-Year Wedding Anniversary," 9 July 2019 In a 1970 episode, the two were set to be married appeared in a wedding scene with Tiny Tim as best man. Pat Saperstein, chicagotribune.com, "‘Laugh-in’ actor Arte Johnson dies at 90," 4 July 2019 When Macron and Auzière married, in 2007, Hermand helped pay for the wedding and served as best man, according to Vanessa Schneider, of Le Monde. Lauren Collins, The New Yorker, "Can Emmanuel Macron Stem the Populist Tide?," 24 June 2019 Two women from different backgrounds are best friends through girlhood, careers and tragedy. Los Angeles Times, "Movies on TV this week Sept. 15, 2019: ‘Alien,’ ‘Aliens’ and more," 13 Sep. 2019 Elizabeth Warren plays your zany, brilliant aunt, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar your stalwart best friends. Monica Hesse, Washington Post, "Kirsten Gillibrand ran unapologetically as a woman," 29 Aug. 2019 Gibbs and Goddard became best friends after traveling the world together, visiting Tibet and the Antarctic. Priscella Vega, Daily Pilot, "Norma Gibbs, Huntington’s first female council member and mayor, dies at 94," 29 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Two other medications being tested could be approved by 2022 in the best-case scenario, said Dr. Punita Ponda, associate division chief of allergy and immunology at Cohen's Children Hospital of New York. Kristin Lam, USA TODAY, "Peanut allergy shots? A new Stanford-led study shows an antibody injection could prevent allergic reactions," 15 Nov. 2019 First published in 1988, Joe Simpson's mountaineering disaster memoir Touching the Void became an international best-seller, later inspiring Kevin MacDonald's hit 2003 docudrama of the same name. Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Touching the Void': Theater Review," 15 Nov. 2019 Even a best-case scenario would see less than 25% of solar energy converted into electricity. Michael J. Coren, Quartz, "Sunshine will cover your daily commute," 13 Nov. 2019 The best-case scenario for a pro gamer still involves a lot of entropy, so for now, Bang intends to keep his options open. Luke Winkie, The Atlantic, "Where Gamers Are the Only Varsity Athletes," 13 Nov. 2019 In a best-case scenario, a two-game suspension for taking and paying back a loan is possible. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, "Chase Young and the disruption of Ohio State football’s perfect season," 8 Nov. 2019 Oviedo girls back on top: The Oviedo girls bowling team reclaimed the FHSAA state championship Thursday after narrowly winning the third game 171-168 in a 3-0 sweep over Space Coast in the best-of-five showdown. Mike Gramajo, orlandosentinel.com, "Shauna Rodgers helps Oviedo win team, individual FHSAA bowling titles," 7 Nov. 2019 Therefore, the best-case scenario has Collins returning in early-to-mid March and potentially missing more than 60 games this season. Joe Freeman, oregonlive, "Without Zach Collins, Portland Trail Blazers to lean on depth, versatility — and not the free agent market," 5 Nov. 2019 Get our daily newsletter The bad news is that our best-of-breed status is in jeopardy because the very business model of our school faces tectonic challenges (see article). The Economist, "The future of management education," 2 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Her other personal bests include 11.95 seconds in the 100 and 57.20 seconds in the 400. Anchorage Daily News, "Five Alaskans are headed to Division I college teams," 15 Nov. 2019 Their career best is a No. 4 with their last album, 2006’s 10,000 Days. Lars Brandle, Billboard, "Lana Del Rey on Course for U.K. No. 1 With 'Norman F---ing Rockwell'," 3 Sep. 2019 After Rudolph's time at Oklahoma State, many NFL talent evaluators viewed him as one of the bests deep ball throwers in the 2018 draft. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Steelers' Mike Tomlin faces ultimate test after Ben Roethlisberger's injury," 16 Sep. 2019 Mannone knows the significance of Saturday’s save and puts it near the top of his career bests. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Loons goalkeeper Vito Mannone understands the ‘poker game’ and luck of penalty kicks," 19 July 2019 Frankly, Stotts is at his absolute best when wringing every drop of talent out of his roster or creatively finding ways to win. John Canzano, oregonlive.com, "John Canzano’s Top 25 most influential people in Oregon sports for 2019," 17 Aug. 2019 His cousin Maria Stella did her honest best to help us, making phone calls and talking up customers at her hair salon on San Vito’s main drag. Steve Lopezcolumnist, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Steve Lopez goes to Italy and searches for his Sicilian roots," 17 July 2019 USA TODAY Sports published a story Wednesday about how 34 players in Major League Baseball already have career bests for home runs, with six weeks remaining in the season. Jeremy Cluff, azcentral, "4 Arizona Diamondbacks players have already set career highs for home runs this season," 22 Aug. 2019 In Minnesota’s 34-10 victory over Georgia Tech at the Quick Lane Bowl in Detroit, Ibrahim produced career bests of 31 carries and 224 yards, and matched his best with two touchdowns. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Mohamed Ibrahim’s Muslim faith brings Gophers football team together," 9 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Among registered voters, the only 2020 Democratic presidential candidate polled to beat Trump by a wide margin was former Vice President Joe Biden, who bested Trump by a 53 percent to 43 percent result. Allan Smith, NBC News, "Trump reaches highest approval rating of presidency in latest poll," 7 July 2019 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 About last: In matchup of historic losing, Tigers bested by Orioles, 6-2 Contact Kirkland Crawford: kcrawford@freepress.com. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers vs. Baltimore Orioles: How to watch tonight's game at Comerica Park," 14 Sep. 2019 On that occasion, a Rossoneri side including the likes of Ruud Gullit and Paolo Maldini were bested by one of the best Ajax teams in the club's history. SI.com, "Liverpool Will Have History on Their Side in Champions League Opener Against SSC Napoli," 11 Sep. 2019 It was bested by the Packers’ Cecil Isbell with 2,021 in 1942, and Luckman topped that total with 2,194 in 1943. Will Larkin, chicagotribune.com, "Ranking the 100 best Bears players ever: No. 5, Sid Luckman," 29 Aug. 2019 In closing with a two-under-par 69 to beat Brooks Koepka by three strokes, Woodland finished at 13-under 271 — a total score that has only been bested in the U.S. Open by the 16 unders of Koepka (in 2017) and Rory McIlroy (2011). Tod Leonard, latimes.com, "Gary Woodland wins the U.S. Open for his first major title," 16 June 2019 Former Louisville coach Charlie Strong, now at South Florida, plummeted from 33rd to 71st, a fall bested by only one — Florida Atlantic's Lane Kiffin, who dropped 39 spots, from 43 to 82. Rana Cash, The Courier-Journal, "See where Scott Satterfield, Mark Stoops land on Sporting News ranking of FBS coaches," 13 June 2019 After easily besting the competition in 2018, finishing 3 ½ games ahead of the second-place Vikings, the Bears are aiming to repeat as NFC North champions for the first time since 2005-2006. Brad Biggs, chicagotribune.com, "A look at how the Bears’ NFC North rivals are shaping up for 2019," 4 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb About last: In matchup of historic losing, Tigers bested by Orioles, 6-2 Contact Kirkland Crawford: kcrawford@freepress.com. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Tigers vs. Baltimore Orioles: How to watch tonight's game at Comerica Park," 14 Sep. 2019 Burgio garnered 589 votes, with incumbent Councilman Richard Salvatore besting him by only 16 votes. Beth Mlady, cleveland.com, "Longtime Brook Park councilman falls short in primary election," 13 Sep. 2019 In the Competition Division, Point Loma was bested by Rancho Cucamonga Los Osos 25-18, 25-15 in the championship match. Terry Monahan, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Volleyball fans given their wish in California Challenge," 24 Aug. 2019 Occasionally, boys would complain that there were girls starting over them because, in their view, girls weren’t supposed to best them in sports, Canoles said. Giana Han, baltimoresun.com, "A group of Maryland girls soccer players just wanted their own club. Now they’re national champions.," 13 Aug. 2019 Wood will represent the host Balboa Yacht Club after besting fellow BYC competitor Jeffrey Petersen in the petit final of the Rose Cup. Andrew Turner, latimes.com, "Youth match racing skippers sail for stardom in 53rd Governor’s Cup," 13 July 2019 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 The following records were set in February: Washington National: Feb. 10: Record daily rainfall of 1.06 inches bests 0.83 from 1881. Matt Rogers, Washington Post, "For the second year in a row, February was among the top-3 warmest on record in Washington," 1 Mar. 2018 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

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


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


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

22 Oct 2019

Cite this Entry

“Best.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/bested. Accessed 21 November 2019.

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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



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



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



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.



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.



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.


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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for best

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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strength of mind

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