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best

[best]
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adjective, superl. of good with better as compar.
  1. of the highest quality, excellence, or standing: the best work; the best students.
  2. most advantageous, suitable, or desirable: the best way.
  3. largest; most: the best part of a day.
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adverb, superl. of well with better as compar.
  1. most excellently or suitably; with most advantage or success: an opera role that best suits her voice.
  2. in or to the highest degree; most fully (usually used in combination): best-suited; best-known; best-loved.
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noun
  1. something or someone that is best: They always demand and get the best. The best of us can make mistakes.
  2. a person's finest clothing: It's important that you wear your best.
  3. a person's most agreeable or desirable emotional state (often preceded by at).
  4. a person's highest degree of competence, inspiration, etc. (often preceded by at).
  5. the highest quality to be found in a given activity or category of things (often preceded by at): cabinetmaking at its best.
  6. the best effort that a person, group, or thing can make: Their best fell far short of excellence.
  7. a person's best wishes or kindest regards: Please give my best to your father.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to get the better of; defeat; beat: He easily bested his opponent in hand-to-hand combat. She bested me in the argument.
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Idioms
  1. 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.
  2. as best one can, in the best way possible under the circumstances: We tried to smooth over the disagreement as best we could.
  3. at best, under the most favorable circumstances: You may expect to be treated civilly, at best.
  4. 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.
  5. had best, would be wisest or most reasonable to; ought to: You had best phone your mother to tell her where you are going.
  6. make the best of, to cope with in the best way possible: to make the best of a bad situation.
  7. with the best, on a par with the most capable: He can play bridge with the best.
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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
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for at best

best

adjective
  1. the superlative of good
  2. most excellent of a particular group, category, etc
  3. most suitable, advantageous, desirable, attractive, etc
  4. the best part of most ofthe best part of an hour
  5. put one's best foot forward
    1. to do one's utmost to make progress
    2. to hurry
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adverb
  1. the superlative of well 1
  2. in a manner surpassing all others; most excellently, advantageously, attractively, etc
  3. (in combination) in or to the greatest degree or extent; mostthe best-loved hero
  4. as best one can or as best one may as effectively as possible within one's limitations
  5. had best would be wise, sensible, etc, toyou had best go now
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noun
  1. the best the most outstanding or excellent person, thing, or group in a category
  2. (often preceded by at) the most excellent, pleasing, or skilled quality or conditionjournalism at its best
  3. the most effective effort of which a person or group is capableeven their best was inadequate
  4. a winning majoritythe best of three games
  5. Also: all the best best wishesshe sent him her best
  6. a person's smartest outfit of clothing
  7. at best
    1. in the most favourable interpretation
    2. under the most favourable conditions
  8. for the best
    1. for an ultimately good outcome
    2. with good intentionshe meant it for the best
  9. get the best of or have the best of to surpass, defeat, or outwit; better
  10. give someone the best to concede someone's superiority
  11. 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)
  12. six of the best informal six strokes with a cane on the buttocks or hand
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verb
  1. (tr) to gain the advantage over or defeat
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Word Origin

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

Best

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

best

adj.

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!

[Burns]

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.

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best

v.

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

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best

n.

c.1200, from best (adj.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

at best in Medicine

Best

(bĕst)Charles Herbert 1899-1978
  1. American-born Canadian physiologist noted for the discovery and successful clinical application of insulin.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

at best in Science

Best

[bĕst]
  1. 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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with at best

at best

Under the most favorable circumstances, as in At best we'll be just one week behind schedule, or Cleaning out the attic is a tedious job at best. This idiom, formerly also put as at the best, today is most often used in situations that are actually far from ideal, as in the examples above. [First half of 1300s] For an antonym, see at worst.

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best

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