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 greats
Contemporary Examples of greats
Food, in large part, is what is currently putting this city up there with the greats.The Foodie Capital of Canada
May 31, 2014
Today, Clarksdale's Delta Blues Museum honors all the greats, including Muddy Waters.The U.S. Road Trips You Should Really Take
April 26, 2014
It paid tribute to the greats that came before it, all while laughing at itself and chronicling a legendary friendship.I Watched ‘Psych’ For 8 Years and All I Got Was This Lackluster Finale
March 27, 2014
Satisfied, but not content, Gold strives to live up to her surname, as well as stamp it on the long list of American greats.Figure Skater Gracie Gold Is America’s Darling in Sochi
February 19, 2014
All the greats have one from George Washington to Tony Soprano.The Return of the Power Paunch
May 1, 2013
Historical Examples of greats
He would go down in history as one of the greats of science.The Monster
S. M. Tenneshaw
It would take a four-years course in Greats to argue it out, Roger.Adrienne Toner
Anne Douglas Sedgwick
With a second in Greats he had taken the first appointment that turned up.Old Mole
This indeed seems to be the country of the greats and the grands.
A story pseudonymously penned by one of the greats in the genre.Where the World is Quiet
pl n (at Oxford University)
- 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 It took over much of the sense of Middle English mickle, and is now largely superseded by big and large except for non-material things.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