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 time
It 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

Examples of great in a Sentence

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
Art transfigures life but, for every great work of art, there are casualties. Aatish Taseer, New York Times, 12 Feb. 2024 Toby Keith has posthumously earned his fifth No. 1 album, topping the Billboard 200 list (dated Feb. 17) with his nearly 16-year-old greatest hits compilation. Thania Garcia, Variety, 12 Feb. 2024 For Platt, Swift is a great example of female solidarity and mutual support. Parker Mancino, arkansasonline.com, 12 Feb. 2024 The new staff could also tap into one of Baker’s greatest skills — blitzing — more in 2024. Daniel Oyefusi, Miami Herald, 12 Feb. 2024 The suitors said taking the company private will allow faster decision-making and give it greater flexibility to pursue growth. Flavia Rotondi, Fortune Europe, 12 Feb. 2024 SMRs — which are smaller and less costly to build than traditional, large-scale reactors — are fast becoming the next great hope for a nuclear renaissance as the world scrambles to cut fossil fuels. Angela Dewan, CNN, 1 Feb. 2024 The nonprofit focuses on emergency needs while also enabling these individuals to maintain dignity, learn to set and meet realistic goals and ultimately achieve greater independence. Janice Phelan, Kansas City Star, 31 Jan. 2024 Another option is to go with an all-white tablescape and tons of white taper candles (this provides a great contrast to the otherwise stark color). Mary Carol Garrity, Charlotte Observer, 31 Jan. 2024
Adverb
Born and raised in New York, Cables moved to Los Angeles in 1971 as a member of tenor sax great Joe Henderson’s band. Andrew Gilbert, The Mercury News, 13 Feb. 2024 The Charleston native and South Carolina Gamecock great has turned in a solid, healthy season in 2023, one that has seen the defensive tackle notch 23 tackles and 3.5 sacks. Alex Zietlow, Charlotte Observer, 9 Feb. 2024 Eric [Clapton] came in, played great, just one tasty lick after another. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 8 Feb. 2024 The accessory, which last had its heyday in 2017, looks especially great paired with a knit tucked into blue jeans that showcase the signature double-G logo. Acielle / Style Du Monde, Vogue, 12 Jan. 2024 Plus, the retractable leash still looked (and performed) great after several weeks of testing, even after being dropped a few times. Camryn Rabideau, Peoplemag, 16 Jan. 2024 Read more: The Best Nike Running Shoes Everything is up to 60% off at Outdoor Voices right now, including the SELF Activewear Award–winning Exercise Dress, which our testers said worked great for running, jogging, and running around town. Malia Griggs, SELF, 27 Nov. 2023 The mom of three met LeBron in high school and has been married to the NBA great since 2013. Elizabeth Ayoola, Essence, 5 Jan. 2024 The tennis great shared a string of fun photos to Instagram on Saturday Serena Williams is enjoying a much-deserved getaway! Brenton Blanchet, Peoplemag, 31 Dec. 2023
Noun
One of the greats of American fine dining has died. Tori Latham, Robb Report, 14 Feb. 2024 Wallace also mentioned the other 49ers greats who are either in Las Vegas or headed that way, seeking to will their current group of successors to victory, ranging from John Taylor, Bryant Young and Eric Wright to Merton Hanks, Ricky Watters and Guy McIntyre. Terence Moore, Forbes, 11 Feb. 2024 Many of the former Lakers greats were there, from Magic Johnson to Jerry West to Pau Gasol to Jamaal Wilkes and even the new coach of the improving Cal team, that dancing fool Mark Madsen. Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, 9 Feb. 2024 From showing a personality trailer to pretend directing their dog Oscar (who, by the way, is not named after the award), her TikTok gives a new perspective on one of Hollywood’s greats. Julia MacCary, Peoplemag, 7 Feb. 2024 Milling on the floor of the West Hollywood club during rehearsals, one of the singer-songwriter greats on hand, Rodney Crowell, had thoughts about Simon’s place in the pantheon. Chris Willman, Variety, 6 Feb. 2024 Not that Watkins is ready to consider herself among the program’s greats just yet. Janie McCauley, The Mercury News, 3 Feb. 2024 Half a century later, Cooper celebrated his hometown with the album Detroit Stories, covering, collaborating with and writing about Michigan’s rock greats. Al Shipley, SPIN, 3 Feb. 2024 Moving from Baroque greats like Vivaldi and Cambini through famous writers of grand opera and movie composers, the orchestra members will perform a kaleidoscope of short Italian works for strings, winds and brass. Christina Mayo, Miami Herald, 31 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'great.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 24 Feb. 2024.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on great

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