best

adjective
\ ˈbest \

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 \

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

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 Prince William will be serving as best man during his only brother’s wedding, so he has been invited. Lisa Ryan, The Cut, "The Ultimate Guide to the Royal Wedding Invite List," 2 May 2018 Downs Gunn's 8-year-old son gave his mother away and acted as best man, People said. Greg Garrison, AL.com, "Former Miss America Deidre Downs marries girlfriend at Birmingham Museum of Art," 16 Apr. 2018 The viewing rooms can be combined into a larger room where Guardian plans to host meetings among museum curators to discuss such topics as best practices for preserving art. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley lands unusual development: High-tech fine art storage center," 19 Jan. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Getty ImagesSylvain Gaboury Penn Badgley, best known as Dan from Gossip Girl and Joe from You, has stayed quiet about his love life in recent years. Katherine J. Igoe, Marie Claire, "Who Is Domino Kirke, Penn Badgley's Wife and the Cofounder of a Pregnancy Care Center?," 22 Jan. 2019 Their relationship in the 20th century was strained at best, the truth about Brianna’s real father stretching the chasm between daughter and workaholic mother nearly beyond repair. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Caitriona Balfe Is Evolving with Outlander," 31 Dec. 2018 That isn't a totally unjustified fear: The wrong wallpaper in the wrong room can at best, transport you back in time and at worst, give you a headache. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "Why You Should Wallpaper Your Ceiling," 14 Dec. 2018 As for a berry red lipstick like Kiernan's, makeup artist Nam Vo noted that medium skin undertones would look best in the shade. Lauren Rearick, Teen Vogue, "Kiernan Shipka Wore Berry Red Lipstick," 8 Oct. 2018 Michael Avenatti, heretofore best known as Stormy Daniels's attorney, delivered on his promise to launch new allegations against Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Wednesday. Michelle Ruiz, Vogue, "Brett Kavanaugh Says "I Said and Did Things in High School That Make Me Cringe Now" As Even More Disturbing Allegations Emerge," 26 Sep. 2018 In addition to Stabler on Law & Order, Christopher may be best known for his role as Chris Keller on the HBO series Oz. Samantha Drake, Country Living, "Christopher Meloni and His Wife Sherman Share the Secret to Their 20+ Year Marriage," 12 Jan. 2019 Boden, along with her directing partner Ryan Fleck, is best known for her documentaries and the 2015 indie Mississippi Grind, meaning Captain Marvel is their biggest film to date by a big margin. Yolanda Machado, Marie Claire, "Meet Anna Boden, Marvel's First-Ever Female Director and the Woman Behind 'Captain Marvel'," 8 Jan. 2019 Among aviation enthusiasts, though, the place is best known as the best place in the Western U.S., if not the whole of the North America, to watch fighter jets and even transport aircraft practice flying low and fast. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Watch Fighter Jets Zoom Through 'Star Wars Canyon'," 31 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Similar graphs were produced when second-best and third-best works were compared and when the best and third-best were compared. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Creative types all go through hot streaks of superior production," 11 July 2018 With All-Star Kawhi Leonard sidelined for all but nine games with a quadriceps injury, Anderson started 67 games while averaging career bests in points (7.9), rebounds (5.4), assists (2.7) and steals (1.6). Tom Orsborn, San Antonio Express-News, "Anderson signs offer sheet with Grizzlies," 6 July 2018 Both Burns and Ginn’s times at sectionals were personal-bests — Burns exceeded his previous low time by almost four seconds. Steve Reaven, chicagotribune.com, "Boys track notes: Barrington's depth shows in its many state qualifiers," 22 May 2018 Sailors junior Ayla Spitz put on a show, setting meet records and personal-bests in winning the girls' 200 freestyle (1:45.44) and the 100 free (48.88). Matt Szabo, latimes.com, "Locals swim fast, but Los Alamitos sweeps Sunset League finals," 5 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

After coming in a close second at a crowded state party convention earlier this year, 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney faces the man who bested him, state legislator Mike Kennedy, in the primary for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. Herb Jackson, USA TODAY, "2018 primaries: Voters have their say in Colorado, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, Utah and South Carolina," 26 June 2018 On the men’s side, Frances Tiafoe, a 20-year-old American player (current ranking by the Association of Tennis Professionals: #38) bested #6 ranked Kevin Anderson of South Africa. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "Here’s What You Need to Know About the 2019 Australian Open, Including How to Watch," 16 Jan. 2019 Whoever wins will face the Cleveland Cavaliers for all the marbles, with LeBron James & co. having bested the Boston Celtics on Sunday night. Editors, USA TODAY, "Memorial Day, National Burger Day and NBA Finals: 5 things you need to know Monday," 28 May 2018 Ohashi is one of the last gymnasts to have bested Simone Biles in a major competition. Jenny Mccoy, SELF, "5 Things to Know About Katelyn Ohashi, the UCLA Gymnast Whose Floor Routine Just Went Viral," 15 Jan. 2019 And in the episode’s climactic scene, Enzo Scanno (also bested by Lila in the school contest) and his friends hurl stones at Lila, knocking her over and bloodying her head. Anna North, Vox, "My Brilliant Friend pulls back the curtain on women’s lives. What it reveals is dark and violent.," 20 Nov. 2018 Bloomberg reports that the major car makers in Germany have been reluctant to commit massive amounts of money to building electric-vehicle battery cells competitively when Chinese firms might best them. Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, "Chinese firm will build battery factory in Germany to supply BMW, Volkswagen," 9 July 2018 There was also a new record set in the mixed 15-18 freestyle 200M relay team, which consisted of Claire O’Shaughnessy, Ryan Harding, Bella Whittaker and Paul Finegan, who posted a time of 1:47.57 to best the previous record set last summer. Tim Schwartz, Howard County Times, "West Howard, Hammond Park win Central Maryland Swim League meets," 4 July 2018 McEwen recorded his first national NHRA event victory in 1973, besting the Funny Car field at the SuperNationals at California's Ontario Motor Speedway. Ellen J. Horrow, USA TODAY, "Legendary drag racer Tom 'The Mongoose' McEwen dies at 81," 11 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Auxiliary verb

Same thing happened in Missouri, where Josh Hawley bested incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill. James Freeman, WSJ, "Trump, Kavanaugh and McCain Drive Election Results," 7 Nov. 2018 During this time Columbia pushed 18 billion kilowatt hours of carbon-free power to the Northwest power grid, with a performance record that bested all other electrical generators in the state, including Grand Coulee Dam. The Seattle Times, "Northwest leans on good project management for success," 21 Aug. 2018 Putin has long denied any involvement, and Trump, who bested Clinton in the 2016 presidential election, has maintained that there is no evidence of collusion between his campaign and the Kremlin. Paulina Dedaj, Fox News, "Clinton calls Putin leader of a 'xenophobic movement,' and Russian meddling a threat to 'western democracy'," 22 June 2018 Whoever wins will face the Cleveland Cavaliers for all the marbles, with LeBron James & co. having bested the Boston Celtics on Sunday night. Editors, USA TODAY, "Memorial Day, National Burger Day and NBA Finals: 5 things you need to know Monday," 28 May 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 Nigeria have bested the Argentines twice in friendly fixtures though, scoring four goals on both occasions. SI.com, "World Cup Preview: Nigeria vs Argentina - Recent Form, Previous Encounters, Predictions & More," 25 June 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 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

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

12 Feb 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

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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 \

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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