all for the best, for the good as the final result; to an ultimate advantage: At the time it was hard to realize how it could be all for the best.Also for the best.
    as best one can, in the best way possible under the circumstances: We tried to smooth over the disagreement as best we could.
    at best, under the most favorable circumstances: You may expect to be treated civilly, at best.
    get/have the best of,
    1. to gain the advantage over.
    2. to defeat; subdue: His arthritis gets the best of him from time to time.
    had best, would be wisest or most reasonable to; ought to: You had best phone your mother to tell her where you are going.
    make the best of, to cope with in the best way possible: to make the best of a bad situation.
    with the best, on a par with the most capable: He can play bridge with the best.

Origin of best

before 900; Middle English beste, Old English betst, best; cognate with Dutch best, Old High German bezzist (German best), Old Norse bezt, Gothic batists. See better1, -est1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for all for the best



the superlative of good
most excellent of a particular group, category, etc
most suitable, advantageous, desirable, attractive, etc
the best part of most ofthe best part of an hour
put one's best foot forward
  1. to do one's utmost to make progress
  2. to hurry


the superlative of well 1
in a manner surpassing all others; most excellently, advantageously, attractively, etc
(in combination) in or to the greatest degree or extent; mostthe best-loved hero
as best one can or as best one may as effectively as possible within one's limitations
had best would be wise, sensible, etc, toyou had best go now


the best the most outstanding or excellent person, thing, or group in a category
(often preceded by at) the most excellent, pleasing, or skilled quality or conditionjournalism at its best
the most effective effort of which a person or group is capableeven their best was inadequate
a winning majoritythe best of three games
Also: all the best best wishesshe sent him her best
a person's smartest outfit of clothing
at best
  1. in the most favourable interpretation
  2. under the most favourable conditions
for the best
  1. for an ultimately good outcome
  2. with good intentionshe meant it for the best
get the best of or have the best of to surpass, defeat, or outwit; better
give someone the best to concede someone's superiority
make the best of to cope as well as possible in the unfavourable circumstances of (often in the phrases make the best of a bad job, make the best of it)
six of the best informal six strokes with a cane on the buttocks or hand


(tr) to gain the advantage over or defeat

Word Origin for best

Old English betst; related to Gothic batista, Old High German bezzist



Charles Herbert . 1899–1978, Canadian physiologist: associated with Banting and Macleod in their discovery of insulin in 1922
George . 1946–2005, Northern Ireland footballer
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

Word Origin and History for all for the best



Old English beste, reduced by assimilation of -t- from earlier Old English betst "best, first, in the best manner," originally superlative of bot "remedy, reparation," the root word now only surviving in to boot (see boot (n.2)), though its comparative, better, and superlative, best, have been transferred to good (and in some cases well). From Proto-Germanic root *bat-, with comparative *batizon and superlative *batistaz (cf. Old Frisian, Old Saxon, Middle Dutch best, Old High German bezzist, German best, Old Norse beztr, Gothic batists).

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!


Best-seller as short for "best-selling book" is from 1902, apparently originally in the publishing trade; best friend was in Chaucer (late 14c.). Best girl is first attested 1881, American English; best man is 1814, originally Scottish, replacing groomsman. To be able to do something with the best of them is recorded by 1748.



"to get the better of," 1863, from best (adj.). Related: Bested; besting.



c.1200, from best (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for all for the best


[bĕst]Charles Herbert 1899-1978

American-born Canadian physiologist noted for the discovery and successful clinical application of insulin.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Science definitions for all for the best


[bĕst]Charles Herbert 1899-1978

American-born Canadian physiologist who assisted Frederick Banting in the discovery of the hormone insulin. In acknowledgment of his work, Banting shared his portion of the 1923 Nobel Prize with Best. In addition to further refining the use of insulin, Best later discovered the vitamin choline and the enzyme histaminase, which breaks down histamine.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with all for the best

all for the best

Also, for the best. Best in the long run, despite appearances to the contrary. It is often a response to an unhappy outcome, as in They had to sell their business, but since they weren't making money it's probably for the best, or The dress had been sold when she went back, but since it was a little too tight it's all for the best. [Late 1300s]


In addition to the idioms beginning with best

  • best bib and tucker
  • best of both worlds, the
  • best part of something
  • best shot

also see:

  • all for the best
  • all the best
  • as best one can
  • at best
  • at one's best
  • come off (second-best)
  • do one's best
  • get the better (best) of
  • give it one's best shot
  • had better (best)
  • make the best of it
  • on one's best behavior
  • put one's best foot forward
  • second best
  • Sunday best
  • in one's (best) interest
  • to the best of one's ability
  • with the best of them
  • with the best will in the world

Also see underbetter.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.