adjective, great·er, great·est.
- 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.
noun, plural greats, (especially collectively) great.
- 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.
Origin of great
Synonyms for great
Antonyms for great
Examples from the Web for greatness
He appeared to understand however belatedly that he was in the presence of another kind of greatness.
But hopefully the greatness of the series will be memorialized, too.'The Newsroom' Ended As It Began: Weird, Controversial, and Noble|Kevin Fallon|December 15, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Hershel also believes that a higher power has destined Rick for greatness.The Walking Dead’s Luke Skywalker: Rick Grimes Is the Perfect Modern-Day Mythical Hero|Regina Lizik|October 28, 2014|DAILY BEAST
King had accomplished much, but his greatness was already behind him.Tavis Smiley Humanely Chronicles MLK’s Sad Last Year|Scott Porch|October 16, 2014|DAILY BEAST
No matter that Williams was a guest artist that week, Winkler knew he was observing “greatness.”How Mork Melted the Fonz: Henry Winkler Recalls Robin Williams’s Storming ‘Happy Days’ Debut|Tim Teeman|August 12, 2014|DAILY BEAST
It was a picture she had seen only in her dreams, convincing in its greatness, dwarfing all else with its might.The Song of Songs|Hermann Sudermann
People were diverted at sight of this, inferring from the number of coffins the greatness of the spectacle.Quo Vadis|Henryk Sienkiewicz
Francis went away, to build his chapel and sing in the Provençal speech hymns in honor of God and of love for his greatness.
We ought not to seek after greatness, but after goodness and saintliness.The Religious Spirit of the Slavs (1916)|Nikolai Velimirovic
I was thinking a great deal of you, and in my head I raised the scaffolding of your future greatness.Caught In The Net|Emile Gaboriau
- of exceptional talents or achievements; remarkablea great writer
- (as noun)the great; one of the greats
- pregnantgreat with child
- full (of)great with hope
- to be informed about
- to be enthusiastic about or for
Word Origin for 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.
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
- 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