- designating a city or country and its adjacent area: Greater New York; Greater Los Angeles.
Origin of Greater
- unusually or comparatively large in size or dimensions: A great fire destroyed nearly half the city.
- large in number; numerous: Great hordes of tourists descend on Europe each summer.
- unusual or considerable in degree, power, intensity, etc.: great pain.
- wonderful; first-rate; very good: We had a great time. That's great!
- being such in an extreme or notable degree: great friends; a great talker.
- notable; remarkable; exceptionally outstanding: a great occasion.
- important; highly significant or consequential: the great issues in American history.
- distinguished; famous: a great inventor.
- of noble or lofty character: great thoughts.
- chief or principal: the great hall; his greatest novel.
- of high rank, official position, or social standing: a great noble.
- much in use or favor: “Humor” was a great word with the old physiologists.
- of extraordinary powers; having unusual merit; very admirable: a great statesman.
- of considerable duration or length: We waited a great while for the train.
- 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.
- being of one generation more remote from the family relative specified (used in combination): a great-grandson.
- Informal. very well: Things have been going great for him.
- a person who has achieved importance or distinction in a field: She is one of the theater's greats.
- great persons, collectively: England's literary great.
- (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.
- (used to express acceptance, appreciation, approval, admiration, etc.).
- (used ironically or facetiously to express disappointment, annoyance, distress, etc.): Great! We just missed the last train home.
- great with child, being in the late stages of pregnancy.
Origin of great
SynonymsSee more synonyms for great on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for greater
The need for an Ebola vaccine in West Africa has never been greater.The Race for the Ebola Vaccine
January 7, 2015
The hope was that greater transparency about performance would drive results.The ‘No Child’ Rewrite Threatens Your Kids’ Future
January 3, 2015
Veterans are a small minority of the population, as well, serving the greater whole.A Veteran’s View: NYC Cold War Between Cops and City Hall
December 29, 2014
Consider, too, that in this digital age, making something public is not only easier but has greater reach.Public Marriage Proposals Must Die
December 28, 2014
Mistletoes on mesquite trees in central Mexico have been linked to a greater abundance of tropical bird species.Mistletoe is the Vampire of Plants
December 21, 2014
The greater part of these taxes, however, do not belong to the King personally.Ancient Man
Hendrik Willem van Loon
The Germans use a greater variety of patterns than any other nation.The Story of the Invention of Steel Pens
That's fortunate, sir; if you are a stranger here, your service to me will be greater.
I think it would be a greater tragedy if she has come too late.Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus
Jessie Graham Flower
And if they had consulted him he could have asked for no greater favor.Way of the Lawless
- (of a city) considered with the inclusion of the outer suburbsGreater London
- 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
- of exceptional talents or achievements; remarkablea great writer
- (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
- pregnantgreat with child
- full (of)great with hope
- (intensifier, used in mild oaths)Great Scott!
- be great on informal
- to be informed about
- to be enthusiastic about or for
- informal very well; excellentlyit was working great
Word Origin and History for greater
Old English gryttra, Anglian *gretra; comparative of great.
Old English great "big, tall, thick, stout; coarse," from West Germanic *grautaz "coarse, thick" (cf. Old Saxon grot, Old Frisian grat, Dutch groot, German groß "great").
Said to have meant originally "big in size, coarse," and, if so, perhaps from PIE root *ghreu- "to rub, grind." It took over much of the sense of Middle English mickle, and is now largely superseded by big and large except for non-material things.
As a prefix to terms denoting "kinship one degree further removed" (early 15c., earliest attested use is in great uncle) it is from the similar use of French grand, itself used as the equivalent of Latin magnus. An Old English way of saying "great-grandfather" was þridda fæder, literally "third father."
In the sense of "excellent, wonderful" great is attested from 1848. Great White Way "Broadway in New York City" is from 1901. Great Spirit "high deity of the North American Indians," 1703, originally translates Ojibwa kitchi manitou. The Great War originally (1887) referred to the Napoleonic Wars, later (1914) to what we now call World War I (see world).
"The Great War" -- as, until the fall of France, the British continued to call the First World War in order to avoid admitting to themselves that they were now again engaged in a war of the same magnitude. [Arnold Toynbee, "Experiences," 1969]
Also formerly with a verb form, Old English greatian, Middle English greaten "to become larger, increase, grow; become visibly pregnant," which became archaic after 17c.
Idioms and Phrases with greater
In addition to the idioms beginning with great