See more synonyms for most on
adjective, superl. of much or many with more as compar.
  1. in the greatest quantity, amount, measure, degree, or number: to win the most votes.
  2. in the majority of instances: Most operations are successful.
  3. greatest, as in size or extent: the most talent.
  1. the greatest quantity, amount, or degree; the utmost: The most I can hope for is a passing grade.
  2. the greatest number or the majority of a class specified: Most of his writing is rubbish.
  3. the greatest number: The most this room will seat is 150.
  4. the majority of persons: to be more sensitive than most.
  5. the most, Slang. the ultimate in something: He's the most. That movie was the most.
adverb, superl. of much with more as compar.
  1. in or to the greatest extent or degree (in this sense often used before adjectives and adverbs, and regularly before those of more than two syllables, to form superlative phrases having the same force and effect as the superlative degree formed by the termination -est): most rapid; most wisely.
  2. very: a most puzzling case.
  3. Informal. almost or nearly.
  1. at the most, at the maximum.Also at most.
  2. for the most part. part(def 34).
  3. make the most of, to use to greatest advantage; utilize fully: to make the most of an opportunity.

Origin of most

before 900; Middle English most(e), Old English māst; replacing Middle English mest(e), Old English mǣst; cognate with German meist, Gothic maists. See more
Can be confusedalmost most

Synonym study

11. See almost.

Usage note

11. The adverb most, a shortened form of almost, is far from being either a recent development or an Americanism. It goes back to the 16th century in England, where it is now principally a dialect form. In American English it occurs before such pronouns as all, anyone, anybody, everyone, and everybody; the adjectives all, any, and every; and adverbs like anywhere and everywhere: Most everyone around here is related to everyone else. You can find that plant most anywhere. This use of most is often objected to, but it is common in the informal speech of educated persons. It is less common in edited writing except in representations of speech.


adjective, more, most.
  1. constituting or forming a large number; numerous: many people.
  2. noting each one of a large number (usually followed by a or an): For many a day it rained.
  1. a large or considerable number of persons or things: A good many of the beggars were blind.
  2. the many, the greater part of humankind.
  1. many persons or things: Many of the beggars were blind. Many were unable to attend.

Origin of many

before 900; Middle English mani, meni, Old English manig, menig; akin to Old Saxon, Old High German manag, menig, Danish mange, Gothic manags
Related formso·ver·man·y, adjective

Synonyms for many

See more synonyms for on
1. multifarious, multitudinous, myriad; divers, sundry, various. Many, innumerable, manifold, numerous imply the presence or succession of a large number of units. Many is a popular and common word for this idea: many times. Numerous, a more formal word, refers to a great number or to very many units: letters too numerous to mention. Innumerable denotes a number that is beyond count or, more loosely, that is extremely difficult to count: the innumerable stars in the sky. Manifold implies not only that the number is large but also that there is variety or complexity.

Antonyms for many

1. few, single.


adjective, more, most.
  1. great in quantity, measure, or degree: too much cake.
  1. a great quantity, measure, or degree: Much of his research was unreliable.
  2. a great, important, or notable thing or matter: The house is not much to look at.
adverb, more, most.
  1. to a great extent or degree; greatly; far: to talk too much; much heavier.
  2. nearly, approximately, or about: This is much like the others.
  1. make much of,
    1. to treat, represent, or consider as of great importance: to make much of trivial matters.
    2. to treat with great consideration; show fondness for; flatter.
  2. much as,
    1. almost the same as: We need exercise, much as we need nourishment.
    2. however much: Much as she wanted to stay at the party, she had to leave.
  3. not so much, Informal. not(def 3).

Origin of much

1150–1200; Middle English muche, moche, apocopated variant of muchel, mochel, Old English mycel; replacing Middle English miche(l), Old English micel great, much (cf. mickle), cognate with Old Norse mikill, Gothic mikils, Greek mégal-, suppletive stem of mégas great
Can be confusedmuch very (see usage note at very)


  1. a combining form of most occurring in a series of superlatives: foremost; utmost.

Origin of -most

Middle English -most; replacing Middle English, Old English -mest, double superlative suffix, equivalent to -ma superlative suffix (as in Old English forma first; compare Latin prīmus) + -est1; later identified with most Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for most


    1. a great majority of; nearly allmost people like eggs
    2. (as pronoun; functioning as sing or plural)most of them don't know; most of it is finished
  1. the most
    1. the superlative of many, much you have the most money; the most apples
    2. (as pronoun)the most he can afford is two pounds
  2. at most or at the most at the maximumthat girl is four at the most
  3. for the most part generally
  4. make the most of to use to the best advantageshe makes the most of her accent
  5. than most than most othersthe leaves are greener than most
  6. the most slang, mainly US wonderfulthat chick's the most
  1. the most used to form the superlative of some adjectives and adverbsthe most beautiful daughter of all
  2. the superlative of much people welcome a drink most after work
  3. (intensifier)a most absurd story
  4. US and Canadian informal, or dialect almostmost every town in this state; John is the more intelligent of the two; he is the most intelligent of the students

Word Origin for most

Old English māst or mǣst, whence Middle English moste, mēst; compare Old Frisian maest, Old High German meist, Old Norse mestr


More and most should be distinguished when used in comparisons. More applies to cases involving two persons, objects, etc, most to cases involving three or more


  1. forming the superlative degree of some adjectives and adverbshindmost; uppermost

Word Origin for -most

Old English -mǣst, -mest, originally a superlative suffix, later mistakenly taken as derived from mǣst (adv) most


  1. (sometimes preceded by a great or a good)
    1. a large number ofmany coaches; many times
    2. (as pronoun; functioning as plural)many are seated already
  2. (foll by a, an, or another, and a singular noun) each of a considerable number ofmany a man
  3. (preceded by as, too, that, etc)
    1. a great number ofas many apples as you like; too many clouds to see
    2. (as pronoun; functioning as plural)I have as many as you
  1. the many the majority of mankind, esp the common peoplethe many are kept in ignorance while the few prosper Compare few (def. 7)
See also more, most

Word Origin for many

Old English manig; related to Old Frisian manich, Middle Dutch menech, Old High German manag


    1. (usually used with a negative)a great quantity or degree ofthere isn't much honey left
    2. (as pronoun)much has been learned from this
  1. a bit much informal rather excessive
  2. as much exactly thatI suspected as much when I heard
  3. make much of See make of (def. 4)
  4. not much of not to any appreciable degree or extenthe's not much of an actor really
  5. not up to much informal of a low standardthis beer is not up to much
  6. think much of (used with a negative) to have a high opinion ofI don't think much of his behaviour
  1. considerablythey're much better now
  2. practically; nearly (esp in the phrase much the same)
  3. (usually used with a negative) often; a great dealit doesn't happen much in this country
  4. much as or as much as even though; althoughmuch as I'd like to, I can't come
  1. (predicative; usually used with a negative) impressive or importantthis car isn't much
See also more, most

Word Origin for much

Old English mycel; related to Old English micel great, Old Saxon mikil, Gothic mikils; compare also Latin magnus, Greek megas
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 most

Old English mast "greatest number, amount, extent," earlier mæst, from Proto-Germanic *maistaz (cf. Old Saxon mest, Old Frisian mast, Old Norse mestr, Dutch meest, German meist, Gothic maists "most"), superlative form of Proto-Germanic *maiz, root of Old English ma, mara (see more). Used in Old English as superlative of micel "great, large" (see mickle). Vowel influenced by more. Original sense of "greatest" survives in phrase for the most part (c.1400). Slang meaning "the best, extremely good" is attested from 1953. Also used as an adverb in Old English. Phrase make the most of (something) is by 1520s. Related: Mostly. Double superlative mostest is 1885, from U.S. Southern and Black English.



c.1200, worn down by loss of unaccented last syllable from Middle English muchel "large, much," from Old English micel "great in amount or extent," from Proto-Germanic *mekilaz, from PIE *meg- "great" (see mickle). As a noun and an adverb, from c.1200. For vowel evolution, see bury.


superlative suffix of adjectives and adverbs, from Old English -mest (altered in Middle English by influence of most), a double superlative, from -mo, -ma (cf. Old English forma "first," meduma "midmost"), cognate with Latin -mus, + -est.



Old English menigu, from many (adj.). The many "the multitude" attested from 1520s. Cf. also Gothic managei "multitude, crowd," Old High German managi "large number, plurality," German Menge "multitude."



Old English monig, manig "many, many a, much," from Proto-Germanic *managaz (cf. Old Saxon manag, Swedish mången, Old Frisian manich, Dutch menig, Old High German manag, German manch, Gothic manags), from PIE *menegh- "copious" (cf. Old Church Slavonic munogu "much, many," Old Irish menicc, Welsh mynych "frequent," Old Irish magham "gift"). Pronunciation altered by influence of any (see manifold).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with most


see at most; for the most part; make the most of.


In addition to the idioms beginning with many

  • many a
  • many hands make light work
  • many happy returns
  • many is the

also see:

  • as many
  • good (great) many
  • in so many words
  • irons in the fire, too many
  • so many
  • too many cooks spoil the broth


In addition to the idioms beginning with much

  • much ado about nothing
  • much as
  • much less
  • much sought after

also see:

  • as much
  • as much as
  • make much of
  • not miss a trick (much)
  • not think much of
  • pretty much
  • so much
  • so much for
  • so much the better
  • (much) sought after
  • take it (just so much)
  • take on (too much)
  • too much of a good thing
  • without so much as
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.