Nearby words

  1. greasewood,
  2. greasies,
  3. greasy,
  4. greasy spoon,
  5. greasy wool,
  6. great abaco,
  7. great ajax,
  8. great alföld,
  9. great ape,
  10. great attractor


    great with child, being in the late stages of pregnancy.

Origin of great

before 900; Middle English greet, Old English grēat; cognate with Dutch groot, German gross

1. immense, enormous, gigantic, huge, vast, grand. Great, big, large refer to size, extent, and degree. In reference to the size and extent of concrete objects, big is the most general and most colloquial word, large is somewhat more formal, and great is highly formal and even poetic, suggesting also that the object is notable or imposing: a big tree; a large tree; a great oak; a big field; a large field; great plains. When the reference is to degree or a quality, great is the usual word: great beauty; great mistake; great surprise; although big sometimes alternates with it in colloquial style: a big mistake; a big surprise; large is not used in reference to degree, but may be used in a quantitative reference: a large number ( great number ). 6. noteworthy. 7. weighty, serious, momentous, vital, critical. 8. famed, eminent, noted, notable, prominent, renowned. 9. elevated, exalted, dignified. 10. main, grand, leading.

1. small. 6–8, 10, 11, 14. insignificant.

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for great

British Dictionary definitions for great



relatively large in size or extent; big
relatively large in number; having many parts or membersa great assembly
of relatively long durationa great wait
of larger size or more importance than others of its kindthe great auk
extreme or more than usualgreat worry
of significant importance or consequencea great decision
  1. of exceptional talents or achievements; remarkablea great writer
  2. (as noun)the great; one of the greats
arising from or possessing idealism in thought, action, etc; heroicgreat deeds
illustrious or eminenta great history
impressive or strikinga great show of wealth
much in use; favouredpoetry was a great convention of the Romantic era
active or enthusiastica great walker
doing or exemplifying (a characteristic or pursuit) on a large scalewhat a great buffoon; he's not a great one for reading
(often foll by at) skilful or adroita great carpenter; you are great at singing
informal excellent; fantastic
British informal (intensifier)a dirty great smack in the face
(postpositive foll by with) archaic
  1. pregnantgreat with child
  2. full (of)great with hope
(intensifier, used in mild oaths)Great Scott!
be great on informal
  1. to be informed about
  2. to be enthusiastic about or for


informal very well; excellentlyit was working great


Also called: great organ the principal manual on an organCompare choir (def. 4), swell (def. 16)
Derived Formsgreatly, adverbgreatness, noun

Word Origin for great

Old English grēat; related to Old Frisian grāt, Old High German grōz; see grit, groat

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 great


Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with great


In addition to the idioms beginning with great

  • great deal
  • great guns
  • great many
  • great minds run in the same channel, all
  • great shakes
  • great white hope

also see:

  • good (great) deal
  • good (great) many
  • go to any length (great lengths)
  • have a good (great) mind to
  • make great strides
  • no great shakes
  • set (great) store by
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.