[ best ]
See synonyms for best on
adjective,superlative of good, with better as comparative.
  1. of the highest quality, excellence, or standing: the best work; the best students.

  2. most advantageous, suitable, or desirable: the best way.

  1. largest; most: the best part of a day.

adverb,superlative of well, with better as comparative.
  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.

  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.

  1. a person's most agreeable or desirable emotional state (often preceded by at).

  2. a person's highest degree of competence, inspiration, etc. (often preceded by at).

  3. the highest quality to be found in a given activity or category of things (often preceded by at): cabinetmaking at its best.

  4. the best effort that a person, group, or thing can make: Their best fell far short of excellence.

  5. a person's best wishes or kindest regards: Please give my best to your father.

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.

Idioms about best

  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.

  1. at best, under the most favorable circumstances: You may expect to be treated civilly, at best.

  2. get / have the best of,

    • to gain the advantage over.

    • to defeat; subdue: His arthritis gets the best of him from time to time.

  3. had best, would be wisest or most reasonable to; ought to: You had best phone your mother to tell her where you are going.

  4. make the best of, to cope with in the best way possible: to make the best of a bad situation.

  5. with the best, on a par with the most capable: He can play bridge with the best.

Origin of best

First recorded 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

Words Nearby best

Other definitions for Best (2 of 2)

[ best ]

  1. Charles Herbert, 1899–1978, Canadian physiologist, born in the U.S.: one of the discoverers of insulin. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use best in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for best (1 of 2)


/ (bɛst) /

  1. the superlative of good

  2. most excellent of a particular group, category, etc

  1. most suitable, advantageous, desirable, attractive, etc

  2. the best part of most of: the best part of an hour

  3. put one's best foot forward

    • to do one's utmost to make progress

    • to hurry

  1. the superlative of well 1

  2. in a manner surpassing all others; most excellently, advantageously, attractively, etc

  1. (in combination) in or to the greatest degree or extent; most: the best-loved hero

  2. as best one can or as best one may as effectively as possible within one's limitations

  3. had best would be wise, sensible, etc, to: you had best go now

  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 condition: journalism at its best

  1. the most effective effort of which a person or group is capable: even their best was inadequate

  2. a winning majority: the best of three games

  3. Also: all the best best wishes: she sent him her best

  4. a person's smartest outfit of clothing

  5. at best

    • in the most favourable interpretation

    • under the most favourable conditions

  6. for the best

    • for an ultimately good outcome

    • with good intentions: he meant it for the best

  7. get the best of or have the best of to surpass, defeat, or outwit; better

  8. give someone the best to concede someone's superiority

  9. 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)

  10. six of the best informal six strokes with a cane on the buttocks or hand

  1. (tr) to gain the advantage over or defeat

Origin of best

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

British Dictionary definitions for Best (2 of 2)


/ (bɛst) /

  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

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

Scientific definitions for 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.

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with best


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.