great

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See also: gréât and great-

English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From Middle English greet (great, large), from Old English grēat (big, thick, coarse, stour, massive), from Proto-Germanic *grautaz (big in size, coarse, coarse grained), from Proto-Indo-European *gʰrewd-, *gʰer- (to rub, grind, remove). Cognate with Scots great (coarse in grain or texture, thick, great), West Frisian grut (large, great), Dutch groot (large, stour), German groß (large), Old English grēot (earth, sand, grit). Related to grit.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

great (comparative greater, superlative greatest)

  1. Relatively large in scale, size, extent, number (i. e. having many parts or members) or duration (i. e. relatively long); very big.
    A great storm is approaching our shores.
    a great assembly
    a great wait
    • 1922, Ben Travers, chapter 1, in A Cuckoo in the Nest[1]:
      “[…] the awfully hearty sort of Christmas cards that people do send to other people that they don't know at all well. You know. The kind that have mottoes like // Here's rattling good luck and roaring good cheer, / With lashings of food and great hogsheads of beer. []
    • 1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 7, in The China Governess[2]:
      ‘Children crawled over each other like little grey worms in the gutters,’ he said. ‘The only red things about them were their buttocks and they were raw. Their faces looked as if snails had slimed on them and their mothers were like great sick beasts whose byres had never been cleared. []
    • 2013 July 19, Timothy Garton Ash, “Where Dr Pangloss meets Machiavelli”, in The Guardian Weekly, volume 189, number 6, page 18:
      Hidden behind thickets of acronyms and gorse bushes of detail, a new great game is under way across the globe. Some call it geoeconomics, but it's geopolitics too. The current power play consists of an extraordinary range of countries simultaneously sitting down to negotiate big free trade and investment agreements.
  2. Of larger size or more importance than others of its kind.
    the great auk
  3. (qualifying nouns of family relationship) Involving more generations than the word qualified implies (from 1510s). [see Derived terms]
    great-grandfather
  4. (obsolete, postpositive, followed by 'with') Pregnant; large with young; full of.
    great with child
    great with hope
  5. (obsolete, except with 'friend' and similar words such as 'mate','buddy') Intimate; familiar.
  6. Extreme or more than usual.
    great worry
  7. Of significant importance or consequence; important.
    a great decision
    • 1915, Emerson Hough, The Purchase Price, chapter I:
      “We are engaged in a great work, a treatise on our river fortifications, perhaps? But since when did army officers afford the luxury of amanuenses in this simple republic?”
  8. (applied to actions, thoughts and feelings) Arising from or possessing idealism; admirable; superior; commandingheroic; illustriouseminent.
    a great deed
    a great nature
    a great history
  9. Impressive or striking.
    a great show of wealth
  10. Much in usefavoured.
    Poetry was a great convention of the Romantic era.
  11. (applied to persons) Endowed with extraordinary powers; of exceptional talents or achievementsuncommonly gifted; able to accomplish vast results; remarkable; strong; powerful; mighty; noble.
    a great hero, scholar, genius, philosopher, writer etc.
  12. Title referring to an important leader.
    Alexander the Great
  13. Doing or exemplifying (a characteristic or pursuit) on a large scale; active or enthusiastic.
    What a great buffoon!
    He's not a great one for reading.
    a great walker
  14. (often followed by 'at') Skilful or adroit.
    a great carpenter
    You are great at singing.
  15. (informal) Very good; excellent; wonderful; fantastic (from 1848).
    Dinner was great.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 5, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      He was thinking; but the glory of the song, the swell from the great organ, the clustered lights, [], the height and vastness of this noble fane, its antiquity and its strength—all these things seemed to have their part as causes of the thrilling emotion that accompanied his thoughts.
  16. (informal, Britain) Intensifying a word or expression, used in mild oaths.
    a dirty great smack in the face
    Great Scott!

Usage notes[edit]

In simple situations, using modifiers of intensity such as fairly, somewhat, etc. can lead to an awkward construction, with the exception of certain common expressions such as “so great” and “really great”. In particular “very great” is unusually strong as a reaction, and in many cases “great” or its meaning of “very good” will suffice.

Synonyms[edit]

Antonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Interjection[edit]

great

  1. Expression of gladness and content about something.
    Great! Thanks for the wonderful work.
  2. sarcastic inversion thereof.
    Oh, great! I just dumped all 500 sheets of the manuscript all over and now I have to put them back in order.

Translations[edit]

Noun[edit]

great (plural greats)

  1. A person of major significance, accomplishment or acclaim.
    Newton and Einstein are two of the greats of the history of science.
  2. (music) The main division in a pipe organ, usually the loudest division.

Antonyms[edit]

  • (person of major significance, accomplishment or acclaim): mediocre

Translations[edit]

Adverb[edit]

great (not comparable)

  1. very well (in a very satisfactory manner)
    Those mechanical colored pencils work great because they don't have to be sharpened.

Translations[edit]

Anagrams[edit]


Old English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Proto-Germanic *grautaz (big in size, coarse, coarse grained), from Proto-Indo-European *ghrewə- (to fell, put down, fall in). Cognate with Old Saxon grōt (large, thick, coarse, stour), Old High German grōz (large, thick, coarse), Old English grot (particle). More at groat.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

grēat

  1. great, massive
  2. tall
  3. thick; stout
  4. coarse

Declension[edit]

Derived terms[edit]

Descendants[edit]


Scots[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old English grēat, from Proto-Germanic *grautaz.

Pronunciation[edit]

  • IPA(key): [ɡrɛt], [ɡrɪt]
  • (North Northern Scots) IPA(key): [ɡrit]

Adjective[edit]

great (comparative greater, superlative greatest)

  1. great
  2. coarse (in grain or texture)
  3. (of things) thick, bulky, roomy
  4. (of people) big, stout
  5. (of a river) swollen with rain, in flood
  6. (of the sea) high, stormy
  7. intimate, friendly