\ˈgrāt, Southern also ˈgre(ə)t\

Definition of great 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1a : notably large in size : huge all creatures great and small

b : of a kind characterized by relative largeness used in plant and animal names the great horned owl

c : elaborate, ample great detail

2a : large in number or measure : numerous great multitudes

b : predominant the great majority

3 : remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness great bloodshed

4 : full of emotion great with anger

5a : eminent, distinguished a great poet

b : chief or preeminent over others often used in titles Lord Great Chamberlain

c : aristocratic, grand great ladies

6 : long continued a great while

7 : principal, main a reception in the great hall

8 : more remote in a family relationship by a single generation than a specified relative great-grandfather

9 : markedly superior in character or quality especially : noble great of soul

10a : remarkably skilled great at tennis

b : marked by enthusiasm : keen great on science fiction

11 used as a generalized term of approval had a great timeit was just great



Definition of great (Entry 2 of 3)

: in a great manner : well Things are going great.


plural great or greats

Definition of great (Entry 3 of 3)

: an outstandingly superior or skillful person a tribute to the greats of baseball

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Other Words from great


greatness noun

Examples of great in a Sentence


all creatures great and small The project will require a great amount of time and money. The building was restored at great expense. a great quantity of fish The low cost of these products gives them great appeal. There is a very great need for reform. They're in no great hurry to finish. There is a great demand for his services. an actress of great charm Is there any love greater than that between parent and child?


We had some problems at first, but now things are going just great. Keep up the good work. You're doing great!
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

But perhaps his greatest assignment will be to repair the broken corporate culture that seems to be at the core of all Uber’s troubles. Deb Gabor, Fortune, "Why Uber Was Right Not to Hire a Female CEO," 30 Aug. 2017 Prior to Houston’s floods, the Sacramento region was often described as the U.S. metropolitan area at second-greatest risk of a devastating flood, after New Orleans. Ryan Sabalow, sacbee, "Think Harvey-like flooding couldn’t happen to Sacramento? Think again.," 30 Aug. 2017 While most residents were satisfied with their interactions with police, white respondents reported greater satisfaction than their non-white counterparts., "Trust damaged between Milwaukee police and community, Department of Justice draft report says," 30 Aug. 2017 Photograph courtesy of Barcade Once named one of America’s best bars by Esquire, Barcade boasts seven locations around greater New York, but this will be their first venture outside the I-95 corridor. Brittany Martin, Los Angeles Magazine, "Barcade Is Opening in L.A., and Our Joystick Thumbs Are Trembling," 30 Aug. 2017 Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. Scott Spillman, New Republic, "War, Civil War, or Revolution?," 30 Aug. 2017 Indonesia joins Bolivia, Argentina and other countries that have sought a greater say in the resources under their soil. Jon Emont, New York Times, "Freeport to Give Indonesia a Majority Stake in Its Grasberg Mine," 29 Aug. 2017 Those students who ended up at better schools made greater academic gains than those who did not, and again, the effect was most pronounced for black and Hispanic students in poverty. Monique Judge, The Root, "Closing Low-Performing Schools More Likely to Negatively Affect Black and Hispanic Students: Report," 29 Aug. 2017 Now, as one can see, there’s greater flexibility among journalists. The Hive, "How Silicon Valley Has Changed Hurricane Coverage," 28 Aug. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

There are systemic causes of the violence that causes the disproportionate rate of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, of which a great many cases go unsolved. Maka Monture, Teen Vogue, "10 Native Activism Organizations to Show Your Support This Thanksgiving," 22 Nov. 2018 Try this beet in your flower border — the wine-red leaves are highly ornamental and look great all summer. The Editors, Good Housekeeping, "How to Grow Beets This Fall for a Hearty Autumn Harvest," 21 Aug. 2018 Getty ImagesMax Mumby/Indigo For the most part, Meghan Markle's life has been going great. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Meghan Markle Is Reportedly Planning a Secret Trip to Visit Her Estranged Father, Thomas Markle," 5 Aug. 2018 Of course, any dress goes great with a night of dancing and a slice of pizza. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Someone Ordered a Cart Full of Pizzas to the Royal Wedding Reception," 20 May 2018 The exquisite strike from the Argentina great sparked the first of several celebrations from an animated Diego Maradona, who screamed, shouted and made obscene gestures — and raised concerns for his health. Washington Post, "Messi finally scores, Argentina advances at World Cup," 26 June 2018 These burgers taste great unadorned, but feel free to top them with accompaniments of your choice. Bonnie S. Benwick, charlotteobserver, "Spicy, smoky, cheesy, melty burgers — on the inside," 19 June 2018 Something tells us Damon and Curt Schilling got along great back in the day. Mark Shanahan,, "Johnny Damon on his support for Trump: ‘He’s not there to be your friend’," 31 May 2018 Kevin has putted great here the last couple of years. Ron Higgins,, "Sunday's Zurich Classic 4th Round pairings," 28 Apr. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Her performance announces her as an actor who belongs alongside the greats. Noel Murray, The Verge, "This weekend, stream Venus, the breakthrough film for Doctor Who’s Thirteenth Doctor," 5 Oct. 2018 Joining some of the royal (and honorary royal) greats, Meghan’s style is part Audrey Hepburn, part Princess Diana, and part Jackie O, all wrapped up in one. Avery Matera, Teen Vogue, "5 Meghan Markle Halloween 2018 Costume Ideas," 29 Sep. 2018 Vendors of skateboard decks airbrushed with the greats of African American history set up next to political organizers calling out for registered voters. BBQ’n While Black was barely getting started. Jonathan Kauffman, San Francisco Chronicle, "Barbecuers take back Oakland’s communal backyard at Lake Merritt," 20 May 2018 Most notably, all four of these all-time greats are 30 or older, an age when any knee twinge can quickly become career-threatening. Douglas Perry,, "Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal face high hurdles: 2018 Australian Open odds promise surprises (preview)," 12 Jan. 2018 Getty ImagesSamir Hussein Hot off his royal wedding ride with Queen Elizabeth, Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle's dog Guy is living his best life–even entering the ranks of the literary greats. Amanda Mitchell, Marie Claire, "Even Meghan Markle's Dog Has A Book Deal, So Now You Have No Excuse," 11 Sep. 2018 The city’s wharves whisper of tea parties, its libraries of literary greats, and its ballpark of curses broken. Elizabeth Wellington, Condé Nast Traveler, "16 Best Things to Do in Boston," 2 Aug. 2018 What lingers is the vision of Tommy Nutter as a man slightly too modern for his time, though very much of it, one of the great characters of fashion if not, perhaps, one of the greats. Matthew Schneier, New York Times, "Meet the Man Who Dressed Mick Jagger," 5 July 2018 Kelly was followed by a string of base-running greats. Rich Cohen, WSJ, "New Glory Days for Slides," 22 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'great.' 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 great


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


13th century, in the meaning defined above


13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for great


Middle English grete, from Old English grēat; akin to Old High German grōz large


see great entry 1


see great entry 1

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Time Traveler for great

The first known use of great was before the 12th century

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More Definitions for great



English Language Learners Definition of great

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: very well



English Language Learners Definition of great (Entry 2 of 2)

: a very successful or admired person


\ˈgrāt \
greater; greatest

Kids Definition of great

1 : very large in size : huge a great mountain

2 : large in amount a great crowd

3 : long entry 1 sense 2 a great while

4 : much beyond the ordinary a great success

5 : important sense 1, distinguished a great artist

6 : very talented or successful She's great at diving.

7 : very good We had a great time.

Other Words from great

greatly adverb He's greatly admired.

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More from Merriam-Webster on great

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with great

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for great

Spanish Central: Translation of great

Nglish: Translation of great for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of great for Arabic Speakers

Comments on great

What made you want to look up great? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a nest or breeding place

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