[ greyt ]
See synonyms for: greatgreatergreatestgreatness on

adjective,great·er, great·est.
  1. unusually or comparatively large in size or dimensions: A great fire destroyed nearly half the city.

  2. large in number; numerous: Great hordes of tourists descend on Europe each summer.

  1. unusual or considerable in degree, power, intensity, etc.: great pain.

  2. wonderful; very good; first-rate: We had a great time.That's great!

  3. being such in an extreme or notable degree: great friends;a great talker.

  4. exceptionally outstanding; notable; remarkable: a great occasion.

  5. highly significant or consequential; important: the great issues in American history.

  6. distinguished; famous: a great inventor.

  7. of noble or lofty character: great thoughts.

  8. chief or principal: the great hall;his greatest novel.

  9. of high rank, official position, or social standing: a great noble.

  10. much in use or favor: “Humor” was a great word with the old physiologists.

  11. of extraordinary powers; having unusual merit; very admirable: a great statesman.

  12. of considerable duration or length: We waited a great while for the train.

  13. Informal.

    • enthusiastic about some specified activity (usually followed by at, for, or on): He's great on reading poetry aloud.

    • skillful; expert (usually followed by at or on): He's great at golf.

  14. being of one generation more remote from the family relative specified (used in combination): a great-grandson.

  1. Informal. very well: Things have been going great for him.

noun,plural greats, (especially collectively) great.
  1. a person who has achieved importance or distinction in a field: She is one of the theater's greats.

  2. great persons, collectively: England's literary great.

  1. (often initial capital letter)greats, (used with a singular verb)Also called great go. British Informal.

    • the final examination for the bachelor's degree in the classics and mathematics, or Literae Humaniores, especially at Oxford University and usually for honors.

    • the course of study.

    • the subject studied.

  1. (used to express acceptance, appreciation, approval, admiration, etc.)

  2. (used ironically or facetiously to express disappointment, annoyance, distress, etc.): Great! We just missed the last train home.

Idioms about great

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

Origin of great

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

Other words for great

Opposites for great

Other words from great

  • great·ness, noun
  • half-great, adjective
  • o·ver·great, adjective
  • o·ver·great·ly, adverb
  • qua·si-great, adjective
  • qua·si-great·ly, adverb Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use great in a sentence

  • "Capital, capital," his lordship would remark with great alacrity, when there was no other way of escape.

  • I waited three months more, in great impatience, then sent him back to the same post, to see if there might be a reply.

    The Boarded-Up House | Augusta Huiell Seaman
  • After a minute's pause, while he stood painfully silent, she resumed in great emotion.

  • The country is well inhabited, for it contains fifty-one cities, near a hundred walled towns, and a great number of villages.

    Gulliver's Travels | Jonathan Swift
  • This is a feature by means of which it is always possible to distinguish the great Horsetail from any other species.

    How to Know the Ferns | S. Leonard Bastin

British Dictionary definitions for great (1 of 2)


/ (ɡreɪt) /

  1. relatively large in size or extent; big

  2. relatively large in number; having many parts or members: a great assembly

  1. of relatively long duration: a great wait

  2. of larger size or more importance than others of its kind: the great auk

  3. extreme or more than usual: great worry

  4. of significant importance or consequence: a great decision

    • of exceptional talents or achievements; remarkable: a great writer

    • (as noun): the great; one of the greats

  5. arising from or possessing idealism in thought, action, etc; heroic: great deeds

  6. illustrious or eminent: a great history

  7. impressive or striking: a great show of wealth

  8. much in use; favoured: poetry was a great convention of the Romantic era

  9. active or enthusiastic: a great walker

  10. doing or exemplifying (a characteristic or pursuit) on a large scale: what a great buffoon; he's not a great one for reading

  11. (often foll by at) skilful or adroit: a great carpenter; you are great at singing

  12. informal excellent; fantastic

  13. British informal (intensifier): a dirty great smack in the face

  14. (postpositive foll by with) archaic

    • pregnant: great with child

    • full (of): great with hope

  15. (intensifier, used in mild oaths): Great Scott!

  16. be great on informal

    • to be informed about

    • to be enthusiastic about or for

  1. informal very well; excellently: it was working great

  1. Also called: great organ the principal manual on an organ: Compare choir (def. 4), swell (def. 16)

Origin of great

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

Derived forms of great

  • greatly, adverb
  • greatness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for great- (2 of 2)


  1. being the parent of a person's grandparent (in the combinations great-grandfather, great-grandmother, great-grandparent)

  2. being the child of a person's grandchild (in the combinations great-grandson, great-granddaughter, great-grandchild)

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

Other 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.