best

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English beste, from Old English betst, betest (best), from Proto-Germanic *batistaz (best), from Proto-Indo-European *bhAd- (good). Cognate with Scots best (best), West Frisian best (best), Dutch best (best), Low German best (best), German beste (best), Danish bedst (best), Swedish bäst (best), Icelandic bestur (best). More at better.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

best

  1. superlative form of good: most good.
    I can either be your best friend or your worst enemy.
    • William Shakespeare (1564-1616)
      When he is best, he is a little worse than a man.
    • John Milton (1608-1674)
      Heaven's last, best gift
    • 2013 August 10, Schumpeter, “Cronies and capitols”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8848:
      Policing the relationship between government and business in a free society is difficult. [] Governments have to find the best people to fill important jobs: there is a limited supply of people who understand the financial system, for example. But governments must also remember that businesses are self-interested actors who will try to rig the system for their own benefit.
  2. Most; largest.
    Unpacking took the best part of a week.

Usage notes[edit]

In informal (often jocular) contexts, best may be inflected further and given the comparative bester and the superlative bestest; these forms are nonstandard.

Antonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Adverb[edit]

best

  1. superlative form of well: most well
    • John Milton (1608-1674)
      Thou serpent! That name best befits thee.
    • Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)
      He prayeth best, who loveth best / All things both great and small.
    • 1907, Robert William Chambers, chapter VIII, in The Younger Set (Project Gutenberg; EBook #14852), New York, N.Y.: D. Appleton & Company, published 1 February 2005 (Project Gutenberg version), OCLC 24962326:
      At her invitation he outlined for her the succeeding chapters with terse military accuracy ; and what she liked best and best understood was avoidance of that false modesty which condescends, turning technicality into pabulum.
  2. To the most advantage; with the most success, cause, profit, benefit, or propriety.

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

best (countable and uncountable, plural bests)

  1. (uncountable) The supreme effort one can make, or has made.
    I did my best.
    My personal best in that race is eighteen minutes, four seconds.
    • 2011 September 28, Tom Rostance, “Arsenal 2 - 1 Olympiakos”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      Home defender Per Mertesacker had to be at his best to stop a dangerous cross from Vassilis Torossidis reaching Djebbour, but moments later Arsenal doubled their lead through Santos.
  2. (uncountable) One's best behavior.
    I was somewhat distant lately, and my lady promised me head every Tuesday of the week when I'm nice to her, so I better be on my best.
  3. (countable) The person (or persons; or thing or things) that is (are) most excellent.
    • 1994, Otis L. Guernsey and Jeffrey Sweet, The Best Plays of 1993-1994, page vii:
      Mel Gussow reviews the bests of off off Broadway
    • 1995 October, Cincinnati Magazine, [2]:
      But in true Cincinnati style, the bests consistently outnumber the worsts.
    • 2011, G. Edward Evans, Sheila S. Intner, and Jean Riddle Weihs, Introduction to Technical Services, page 149:
      There are the bests for each institution, the bests for coalitions, and, of course, the bests for the group as a whole.
    • 2013, Jesse Jose, Collections Of My Best And Most-Hated, "A Cup O' Kapeng Barako" Writings, page 209:
      If he's one of the bests, he should be fighting the bests, NOT the pipitsugins.

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

best (third-person singular simple present bests, present participle besting, simple past and past participle bested)

  1. To surpass in skill or achievement.
  2. (transitive) To beat in a contest;
    • 2010, T. William Phillips, Restless Heart, page 16:
      "You did not win because I was sloppy. You bested me, Uncle. I've never seen you fight like that before.”

Antonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Related terms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Statistics[edit]

Most common English words before 1923 in Project Gutenberg: until · does · Gutenberg · #245: best · word · light · felt

Anagrams[edit]


Dutch[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle Dutch best, from Old Dutch *betst, from Proto-Germanic *batistaz, superlative of *gōdaz. Compare Low German best, English best, West Frisian best, German besten, Danish bedst.

Adjective[edit]

best

  1. Superlative form of goed; best.
  2. fine, okay
    Mag ik buiten spelen? — Ik vind het best, als je maar voor het eten weer thuis bent.
    May I go and play outside? — It's fine with me, as long as you're back home again before dinner.

Synonyms[edit]

Adverb[edit]

best

  1. quite, rather
    Dat zou best kunnen.
    It's quite possible.

Derived terms[edit]


Middle Dutch[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Dutch *betst, from Proto-Germanic *batistaz, superlative of *gōdaz.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

best

  1. best; superlative degree of goet

Adverb[edit]

best

  1. best; superlative degree of wel

Descendants[edit]


Norwegian Bokmål[edit]

Adjective[edit]

best

  1. indefinite superlative of god
  2. indefinite superlative of bra

Norwegian Nynorsk[edit]

Adjective[edit]

best

  1. indefinite superlative of god
  2. indefinite superlative of bra

Old Saxon[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

from Proto-Germanic *batistaz (best).

Adverb[edit]

best

  1. best

Descendants[edit]


Scots[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

best

  1. superlative degree of guid

Derived terms[edit]

  • ill-best (best of a bad lot, best of a poor selection)

Noun[edit]

best (plural bests)

  1. groomsman

Swedish[edit]

Noun[edit]

best c

  1. beast

Declension[edit]

Declension of best 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative best besten bestar bestarna
Genitive bests bestens bestars bestarnas