- of the highest quality, excellence, or standing: the best work; the best students.
- most advantageous, suitable, or desirable: the best way.
- largest; most: the best part of a day.
- most excellently or suitably; with most advantage or success: an opera role that best suits her voice.
- in or to the highest degree; most fully (usually used in combination): best-suited; best-known; best-loved.
- something or someone that is best: They always demand and get the best. The best of us can make mistakes.
- a person's finest clothing: It's important that you wear your best.
- a person's most agreeable or desirable emotional state (often preceded by at).
- a person's highest degree of competence, inspiration, etc. (often preceded by at).
- the highest quality to be found in a given activity or category of things (often preceded by at): cabinetmaking at its best.
- the best effort that a person, group, or thing can make: Their best fell far short of excellence.
- a person's best wishes or kindest regards: Please give my best to your father.
- to get the better of; defeat; beat: He easily bested his opponent in hand-to-hand combat. She bested me in the argument.
- 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,
- to gain the advantage over.
- 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
- 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
- to do one's utmost to make progress
- 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
- in the most favourable interpretation
- under the most favourable conditions
- for the best
- for an ultimately good outcome
- 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
- Charles Herbert . 1899–1978, Canadian physiologist: associated with Banting and Macleod in their discovery of insulin in 1922
- George . 1946–2005, Northern Ireland footballer
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.).
- American-born Canadian physiologist noted for the discovery and successful clinical application of insulin.
- 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.
all the best
Also, all of the best. The entire number or amount of the highest quality of something, as in All of the best fruit was on display, or All the best students competed for the award.
Best wishes, as in I've got to go now—all the best to you and the family. This idiom, first recorded in 1937, is used as an oral farewell or to close an informal letter or note.
In addition to the idioms beginning with best
- best bib and tucker
- best of both worlds, the
- best part of something
- best shot
- 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.