great

1 of 3

adjective

ˈgrāt How to pronounce great (audio)
 Southern also  ˈgre(ə)t
1
a
: 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
2
a
: large in number or measure : numerous
great multitudes
b
: predominant
the great majority
3
: remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness
great bloodshed
4
used as a generalized term of approval
had a great timeIt was just great.
5
a
: eminent, distinguished
a great poet
b
: aristocratic, grand
great ladies
c
: chief or preeminent over others
often used in titles
Lord Great Chamberlain
6
: markedly superior in character or quality
especially : noble
great of soul
7
a
: remarkably skilled
great at tennis
b
: marked by enthusiasm : keen
great on science fiction
8
: more remote in a family relationship by a single generation than a specified relative
great-grandfather
9
: long continued
a great while
10
: principal, main
a reception in the great hall
11
: full of emotion
great with anger

great

2 of 3

adverb

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

great

3 of 3

noun

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

Example Sentences

Adjective 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? Adverb We had some problems at first, but now things are going just great. Keep up the good work. You're doing great! See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Of course, starting a new habit with someone else is great. Nell Derick Debevoise, Forbes, 25 Jan. 2023 If that’s at Oregon State, that’s going to be great. oregonlive, 25 Jan. 2023 My love and respect for Dad was great, but so was my anger and resentment from painful memories of his unpredictable rages and need for absolute control. Angela Jamison, Los Angeles Times, 24 Jan. 2023 This super-budget pick is great for anyone who wants a small bookshelf with an unobtrusive, contemporary style. Kathleen Willcox, Popular Mechanics, 24 Jan. 2023 But if these patterns can be decoded and understood, the potential is great, says Lamy. Chris Gorski, Smithsonian Magazine, 24 Jan. 2023 The sounds are wonderful and soothing and the volume range is great. Mike Richard, Men's Health, 24 Jan. 2023 And men are powering the new brand of reactionary Republican politics, premised on a return to better times, when America was great—and, unsubtly, when men could really be men. Idrees Kahloon, The New Yorker, 23 Jan. 2023 No act of virtue can be great if it is not followed by advantage for others. Lizz Schumer, Good Housekeeping, 22 Jan. 2023
Adverb
Zach Wilson was benched for Chris Streveler, who didn’t play great and still looked leaps and bounds better than Wilson. Jeremy Cluff, The Arizona Republic, 27 Dec. 2022 Straight-up, the Chargers didn’t play great offensively in scoring just twice on the ground and in going four for 13 on third downs. Jay Paris, Forbes, 19 Dec. 2022 The first three quarters were a true back-and forth affair, with both squads playing great in transition. Kat Cornetta, BostonGlobe.com, 11 Nov. 2022 Carolina’s secondary didn’t play great in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Bengals, but the run defense was the biggest issue, giving up four touchdowns and 153 yards on the ground to Joe Mixon (Mixon also had one receiving touchdown). Ian Firstenberg, Chicago Tribune, 10 Nov. 2022 Auburn is going to play above themselves at least for the first half, and the Bulldogs haven’t exactly been playing great the last couple weeks. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, 6 Oct. 2022 Jalen Hurts is playing great, making the right reads and right throws, and running it when needed. Los Angeles Times, 29 Sep. 2022 Obviously, a kid who was playing great stepped up there and hit a big-time three. oregonlive, 28 Mar. 2022 That's a big improvement for the company, which didn't do great at providing consistent Android updates during its ownership of Motorola. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, 5 Jan. 2023
Noun
But the Swiss great ended his career last month because of a persistent knee injury. Arkansas Online, 25 Oct. 2022 Following the news of his death, a number of stars took to social media to mourn the loss of the hip-hop great. Rania Aniftos, Billboard, 28 Sep. 2022 Asakura, who usually weighs about 165 pounds, is more Mayweather’s size than the last opponent the American great met in Japan three years ago. oregonlive, 24 Sep. 2022 In his opening statements, Vanessa's lawyer Luis Li shared the emotional impact the images have had on the NBA great's widow. Charmaine Patterson, Peoplemag, 11 Aug. 2022 Our coaches have done a great of challenging our players; our players are challenging themselves and each other. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, 25 Mar. 2022 The good as well as the great can earn rings alike, and these Giants are more than merely good. Christina Kahrl, San Francisco Chronicle, 28 Sep. 2021 Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo said the 80-year-old soccer great is in an intensive care unit and will be transferred to a regular room on Tuesday. BostonGlobe.com, 6 Sep. 2021 Florida State backup quarterback McKenzie Milton nearly pulled off an emotional victory on a night the Seminoles honored Bobby Bowden, the coaching great who died at 91 of pancreatic cancer on Aug. 8. BostonGlobe.com, 6 Sep. 2021 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective, Adverb, and Noun

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

First Known Use

Adjective

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

Adverb

13th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near great

Cite this Entry

“Great.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/great. Accessed 4 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

great

1 of 3 adjective
ˈgrāt How to pronounce great (audio)
 in South also  ˈgre(ə)t
1
: large in size : not small or little
2
: large in number : numerous
a great crowd
3
: long continued
a great while
4
: beyond the average or ordinary
a great weight
in great pain
5
: distinguished, prominent
a great artist
6
: more distant in relationship by one generation
7
: superior in quality or character
8
: remarkable in skill
great at tennis
9
used as a term of general approval
had a great time
greatly adverb
greatness noun

great

2 of 3 adverb
: in a great manner : successfully, well

great

3 of 3 noun
plural great or greats
: an outstandingly superior or skillful person
the greats of baseball

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