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[mohst] /moʊst/
adjective, superl. of much or many with more as compar.
in the greatest quantity, amount, measure, degree, or number:
to win the most votes.
in the majority of instances:
Most operations are successful.
greatest, as in size or extent:
the most talent.
the greatest quantity, amount, or degree; the utmost:
The most I can hope for is a passing grade.
the greatest number or the majority of a class specified:
Most of his writing is rubbish.
the greatest number:
The most this room will seat is 150.
the majority of persons:
to be more sensitive than most.
the most, Slang. the ultimate in something:
He's the most. That movie was the most.
adverb, superl. of much with more as compar.
in or to the greatest extent or degree (in this sense often used before adjectives and adverbs, and regularly before those of more than two syllables, to form superlative phrases having the same force and effect as the superlative degree formed by the termination -est):
most rapid; most wisely.
a most puzzling case.
Informal. almost or nearly.
at the most, at the maximum.
Also, at most.
for the most part. part (def 34).
make the most of, to use to greatest advantage; utilize fully:
to make the most of an opportunity.
Origin of most
before 900; Middle English most(e), Old English māst; replacing Middle English mest(e), Old English mǣst; cognate with German meist, Gothic maists. See more
Can be confused
almost, most.
Synonym Study
11. See almost.
Usage note
11. The adverb most, a shortened form of almost, is far from being either a recent development or an Americanism. It goes back to the 16th century in England, where it is now principally a dialect form. In American English it occurs before such pronouns as all, anyone, anybody, everyone, and everybody; the adjectives all, any, and every; and adverbs like anywhere and everywhere: Most everyone around here is related to everyone else. You can find that plant most anywhere. This use of most is often objected to, but it is common in the informal speech of educated persons. It is less common in edited writing except in representations of speech. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for at most


  1. a great majority of; nearly all: most people like eggs
  2. (as pronoun; functioning as sing or plural): most of them don't know, most of it is finished
the most
  1. the superlative of many, much you have the most money, the most apples
  2. (as pronoun): the most he can afford is two pounds
at most, at the most, at the maximum: that girl is four at the most
for the most part, generally
make the most of, to use to the best advantage: she makes the most of her accent
than most, than most others: the leaves are greener than most
(slang, mainly US) the most, wonderful: that chick's the most
the most, used to form the superlative of some adjectives and adverbs: the most beautiful daughter of all
the superlative of much people welcome a drink most after work
(intensifier): a most absurd story
(US & Canadian, informal or dialect) almost: most every town in this state, John is the more intelligent of the two, he is the most intelligent of the students
Usage note
More and most should be distinguished when used in comparisons. More applies to cases involving two persons, objects, etc, most to cases involving three or more
Word Origin
Old English māst or mǣst, whence Middle English moste, mēst; compare Old Frisian maest, Old High German meist, Old Norse mestr
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for at most



Old English mast "greatest number, amount, extent," earlier mæst, from Proto-Germanic *maistaz (cf. Old Saxon mest, Old Frisian mast, Old Norse mestr, Dutch meest, German meist, Gothic maists "most"), superlative form of Proto-Germanic *maiz, root of Old English ma, mara (see more). Used in Old English as superlative of micel "great, large" (see mickle). Vowel influenced by more. Original sense of "greatest" survives in phrase for the most part (c.1400). Slang meaning "the best, extremely good" is attested from 1953. Also used as an adverb in Old English. Phrase make the most of (something) is by 1520s. Related: Mostly. Double superlative mostest is 1885, from U.S. Southern and Black English.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with at most

at most

Also, at the most or at the outside . At the largest amount, the furthest limit; also, in the most extreme case. For example, She'll be finished in two weeks at the most , or It'll take two weeks at the outside , or At most the chef uses a tiny bit of pepper . The terms with most date from the 1300s; at the outside from the mid-1800s. Also see at best
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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