adjective, superl. of good with better as compar.
adverb, superl. of well with better as compar.
verb (used with object)
- to gain the advantage over.
- to defeat; subdue: His arthritis gets the best of him from time to time.
Origin of best
Related Words for bestsperfect, finest, tough, outstanding, leading, terrific, bad, first-rate, first, favorite, choice, beat, trounce, outclass, outshine, conquer, surpass, blank, outdo, overcome
Examples from the Web for bests
Contemporary Examples of bests
In the head to head, surveying only Republican primary voters, McConnell bests Bevin 55 percent to 29 percent.Tea Partier Matt Bevin Is Selling Himself as the Anti-Mitch McConnell
February 8, 2014
Not a single one of them—not Herman Cain nor Mitt Romney nor Rick Perry—bests a badly weakened Barack Obama in the latest polls.Why the GOP Should Panic
November 7, 2011
Historical Examples of bests
She felt that she was an old woman, and 'second bests' her lot in the coming years.Elsie Inglis
Eva Shaw McLaren
When he himself agitated for that Smiley multiplied the bests upon her as long as there to him remained a red.The Man That Corrupted Hadleyburg and Other Stories
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
Other youths were wearing gaudy ties and imperilling their Sunday bests; he was letting precious time slip.The Place Beyond the Winds
Harriet T. Comstock
She should have not one trade but twenty hobbies; she, unlike the man, may develop all her second bests.
The whole is an extravagant riot of second bests, a pandemonium of pis-aller.
- to do one's utmost to make progress
- to hurry
- in the most favourable interpretation
- under the most favourable conditions
- for an ultimately good outcome
- with good intentionshe meant it for the best
Word Origin for 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.).
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.