Best Definition & Meaning | Britannica Dictionary (2023)

1 best

/ˈbɛst/

adjective

1 best

/ˈbɛst/

adjective

Britannica Dictionary definition of BEST

superlative form of 1good

or of 2well

1

a

:

better than all others in quality or value

  • You should wear your best clothes tonight.

  • He took us to the (very) best restaurants in the city.

  • We ate the best food and drank the best wines.

  • You're our best customers.

  • His modesty and sense of humor are his best qualities.

  • Is that your best offer?

  • I've had the best time with you! [=I've had a very enjoyable time with you]

  • The best [=most valuable] things in life are free.

  • Which of these do you think tastes best?

  • Mary sends you her very best wishes/regards.

  • He's my best friend. [=my closest/dearest friend] = He and I are best friends.

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b

:

most skillful, talented, or successful

  • She's the best student in her class.

  • He won the award for best actor in a drama.

  • the team's best player

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2

:

most appropriate, useful, or helpful

  • She truly believes that this is the best way to solve the problem.

  • She's the team's best hope/chance for a medal.

  • She thought waiting was best. = She thought that the best thing to do was to wait. = She thought that it was best to wait.

  • It's best to leave early if you want to be sure of arriving on time.

  • We want to do what's best for you.

  • He's the best man for the job.

  • You should do whatever you think is the best thing to do. = You should do whatever you think best.

  • We're making the best possible use of these materials.

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best of all

◊ The phrase best of all is often used to refer to the most important or appealing part of something that has many good parts.

  • The machine is easy to use, easy to clean, and best of all, it's absolutely free when you order these books.

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next best

◊ A person or thing that is next best is not as good as the best person or thing but is better than all others.

  • The shortstop is the best player on the team, and the catcher is the next best player.

  • We can't see each other often, but calling each other on the telephone is the next best thing.

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on your best behavior

◊ If you are on your best behavior you are behaving very politely and well.

  • Remember to be on your best behavior with your grandmother.

  • The children promised to be on their best behavior.

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2 best

/ˈbɛst/

adverb

2 best

/ˈbɛst/

adverb

Britannica Dictionary definition of BEST

superlative form of 1well

1

:

in the best way

:

in a way that is better than all others

  • The sauce is best served/eaten/enjoyed cold.

  • His cooking is best described as spicy. = It can best be described as spicy.

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:

with the most success or benefit

  • They work best under pressure.

  • That's what we do best!

  • We need to think about how best to fix this problem.

  • This is a job best left to the professionals. [=it's better/best to allow professional workers to do this job]

  • Some things are best left unsaid. [=it's better/best not to talk about some things]

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2

:

to the greatest degree or extent

:

most

  • That's the one we liked (the) best.

  • The work should be done by the people who are best able to do it.

  • She's best suited to life in the city.

  • He is best known for his invention of the light bulb.

  • The museum features some of the best-known examples of this style of painting.

  • the industry's best-kept secret

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as best you can

or

the best (that) you can

:

as well, skillfully, or accurately as you can

  • She answered their questions as best she could. [=as well as she could]

  • You don't have to do it perfectly. Just do it the best you can.

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had best

◊ If you had best do something, you should do it.

  • You'd best get ready for school. [=you'd better get ready for school; you should get ready for school]

  • Hadn't you best get ready for school?

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3 best

/ˈbɛst/

noun

3 best

/ˈbɛst/

noun

Britannica Dictionary definition of BEST

[singular]

1

the best

:

the best person or thing

  • Out of all of my workers, he's the best.

  • Our company is the best in the business.

  • Thanks, Dad. You're the best!

  • I have one more gift for you, and I saved the best for last.

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:

the best group of people or things

  • Our store sells nothing but the best. = We sell only the best. [=the best products]

  • She's one of the best in the world. = She's among the best.

  • Bad things happen to the best of us.

  • They want the best for their children.

  • Even in the best of times, we had trouble paying our bills.

  • In the best of all possible worlds, no one would be without food and clean water.

  • He can compete with the best of them. [=he can compete as well as anyone]

  • We were the best of friends. [=we were very good friends]

  • I have a wonderful family and a great job, so I feel that I have the best of both worlds.

  • Problems can occur even in/under the best of circumstances. [=even if the situation is as good as possible]

  • All of the students are good, but these three are the best of the bunch. [=the best ones in the group]

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see also sunday best

2

:

someone's or something's most effective, capable, or successful condition

used in phrases like at your best and at its best

  • He's at his best in front of a live audience.

  • She's at her best in the morning.

  • This is democracy at its best.

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3

:

the highest level that you can do or achieve

  • Was that your best? = Was that the best you could do?

  • No one expects you to do the job perfectly. Just do your best. = Just do the best you can. [=do as well as you can]

  • He did his best to help them.

  • Her time in the race was a personal best. [=it was the fastest time she had ever achieved]

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(all) for the best

:

having or producing a better result

used to say that something will have a good result even though it was not the intended result

  • I won't be able to go, but maybe it's all for the best. I have a lot of work to do anyway.

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(all) the best

◊ If you wish someone (all) the best, you hope that person will be happy and successful.

  • We wish you all the best in your new job.

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at best

used to refer to a result, condition, etc., that is the best one possible even though it is not very good

  • The company won't make a profit this year. At best, they'll break even.

  • The work won't be finished for another three months at best.

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best of luck

see 1luck

best (out) of three (five, seven, etc.)

used to say that the winner of a series of games will be the one who has won the most times after three (five, seven, etc.) games have been played

bring out the best in

◊ If someone or something brings out the best in you, that person or thing helps you to use or show your best qualities.

  • She seems to bring out the best in him.

  • Performing in front of an audience brings out the best in me. [=I perform better when I am in front of an audience]

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feel your best

:

to feel very healthy

  • Exercise helps you look and feel your best.

  • I'm not feeling my best this morning. [=I'm not feeling very well this morning]

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get the best of

◊ If an emotion or feeling gets the best of you, it causes you to do something that you should not do or that you are trying not to do.

  • I did get a little carried away. I guess the excitement got the best of me. [=got the better of me]

  • Their emotions have gotten the best of them.

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know best

or

know what's best

see 1know

look your best

:

to look very good

:

to look as attractive and pleasant as possible

  • Try to look your best when interviewing for a job.

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make the best of

1

:

to use (something) in an effective way

  • We may not get another chance, so we need to make the best of this opportunity.

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2

:

to deal with (a bad situation) as well as possible

  • Life is not very good right now—but let's try to make the best of it.

  • We're trying to make the best (out) of a bad situation. = (Brit) We're trying to make the best of a bad job.

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the best is yet to come/be

used to say that good things have happened but that even better things will happen in the future

  • Life is good now, but the best is yet to come.

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to the best of my knowledge

see knowledge

to the best of your ability

:

as well as you are able to

  • Every game, we go out and play to the best of our ability.

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to the best of your belief

see belief

4 best

/ˈbɛst/

verb

bests;

bested;

besting

4 best

/ˈbɛst/

verb

bests;

bested;

besting

Britannica Dictionary definition of BEST

[+ object]

:

to do better than (someone or something)

:

to defeat or outdo (someone or something)

  • They were bested [=beaten] by their opponents in the opening game.

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