Definition of best in English:

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Pronunciation: /best/


1Of the most excellent, effective, or desirable type or quality: the best pitcher in the league how to obtain the best results from your machine her best black suit
More example sentences
  • Only a few of the very best pedigree pigs can be kept for breeding.
  • In fact her son Lindsay was Rebecca's very best friend when they were small children.
  • We need to know our children are receiving the very best care from professional educationalists.
finest, greatest, top, foremost, leading, preeminent, premier, prime, first, chief, principal, supreme, of the highest quality, superlative, par excellence, unrivaled, second to none, without equal, nonpareil, unsurpassed, peerless, matchless, unparalleled, unbeaten, unbeatable, optimum, optimal, ultimate, incomparable, ideal, perfect;
informal star, number-one, a cut above the rest, top-drawer, the Cadillac of, the Rolls-Royce of
1.1Most enjoyable: some of the best times of my life
More example sentences
  • Twenty nine cars participated in what was regarded as the best and most enjoyable hunt ever.
  • He has devoted the best years of his life to preparing impromptu speeches.
  • Sometimes it's best to sit close to the fire, looking into the coals, and beyond them.
1.2Most appropriate, advantageous, or well advised: do whatever you think best it’s best if we both go
More example sentences
  • In the ancient world, gold was preferred as the best metal for making jewellery.
  • Can you recommend the best website to create albums for others to view?
  • Again, your local garden centre will be able to recommend the best brands for your needs.
most advantageous, most useful, most suitable, most fitting, most appropriate;
most prudent, most sensible, most advisable
Superlative of good


1To the highest degree; most: the one we liked best you knew him best well-drained soil suits it best
More example sentences
  • Partial or dappled shade and soil enriched with plenty of leaf mould suits them best.
  • What do you like best about your course?
  • Every woman should wear what she feels suits her best.
most, to the highest/greatest degree
1.1Most excellently or effectively: the best-dressed man in Hollywood the things we do best
More example sentences
  • Standard pub food is what it does best: Sunday roasts, chips, steak, sausages and mash.
  • The new van has one of the best designed cabs, with a good level of standard equipment.
  • The idea that they were always the best behaved in the world is almost a joke.
to the highest standard, in the best way
1.2Most suitably, appropriately, or usefully: this is best done at home jokes are best avoided in essays
More example sentences
  • Religion and politics are apparently the two topics best avoided when engaging in polite conversation.
  • Those who have lived through the crisis are perhaps the best equipped to avoid a repeat of it.
  • Sundays, when even the swings in the children's playgrounds are padlocked, are best avoided.
most advantageously, most usefully, most suitably, most fittingly, most appropriately;
most sensibly, most prudently, most wisely;
ought to, should
Superlative of well1


(usually the best)
1That which is the most excellent, outstanding, or desirable: buy the best you can afford Sarah always had to be the best at everything this year’s event will cover the best of both domestic and international manufacturing practices
More example sentences
  • Why don't we just grow up and admit that England cannot always be the best at everything.
  • He wants to be the best at everything he does, whether it be football or pool or golf.
  • They may or may not be the best at any given moment, but no team handles the ball better.
finest, choicest, top, cream, choice, prime, elite, crème de la crème, flower, jewel in the crown, nonpareil
informal tops, pick of the bunch
1.1The most meritorious aspect of a thing or person: he brought out the best in people
More example sentences
  • They were fond of each other, and observers of his early work often say that she brought out the best in him.
  • They also brought out the best in communities who battled past the point of exhaustion against the rising waters.
  • He now enjoyed a sustained spell of supremacy which brought out the best in a determined York defence.
1.2 (one's best) The peak of condition; the highest standard or level that a person or thing can reach: this is jazz at its best try to look your best
More example sentences
  • You are expected to look your best at every moment, before, during and after the wedding.
  • You have to look your best on these occasions.
  • It's party time coming up so this is the ideal opportunity to learn how to look your best.
1.3 (one's best) One’s finest or most formal clothes: she dressed in her best
More example sentences
  • Soon Elizabeth was dressed in her best.
  • Mum was coming and she was all dressed up in her best.
  • Sonia watched in amusement as he dressed in his best, getting ready for town.
1.4(In sports) a record performance: a lifetime best of 12.0 seconds See also personal best.
More example sentences
  • Molly won a bronze medal in the 200 meter backstroke, swimming a lifetime best of 2:16.42.
  • Canada's Perdita Felicien smashed her lifetime best with victory in 12.53 seconds to upset gold medal favourite Brigitte Foster.
  • Despite a lifetime best in the 1,500m, Lee finished out of the medals.


[with object] informal
Outwit or get the better of (someone): she refused to allow herself to be bested
More example sentences
  • But she can only give herself to a man who bests her in hand-to-hand combat.
  • He takes understandable pleasure in besting his brother on the polo field and on the ski slopes.
  • She met their world on its own terms, often besting the boys at their games and always laughing when she landed on her butt.
defeat, beat, get the better of, outdo, outwit, outsmart, worst, be more than a match for, prevail over, vanquish, trounce, triumph over;
surpass, outclass, outshine, put someone in the shade, overshadow, eclipse
informal lick


On the punctuation of best in compound adjectives, see well1 (usage).



all the best

Said or written to wish a person well on ending a letter or parting.
Example sentences
  • Well done to both players on a great achievement and we wish them all the best in the All Ireland final.
  • Vince has a lot to offer, and I wish him all the best as he makes his mark on the national sporting scene.
  • We also wish them all the best while away and hope that they return back home safe and sound again in autumn.

as best one can (or may)

As effectively as possible under the circumstances: I went about my job as best I could
More example sentences
  • Also, you just want to do the job as best you can, and if you think you're doing the job well, that gives you satisfaction.
  • I guess you just each day get up and do what has to be done, and whatever the circumstances are, as things change you just cope as best you can.
  • ‘You live with it as best you can,’ he said.

at best

Taking the most optimistic or favorable view: signs of recovery are patchy at best
More example sentences
  • The first views her at best as a mad, talentless manipulator and at worst as a murderer.
  • If you're a journalist for any period of time you get used to them and find them at best tedious and at worst laughable.
  • So far those attempts have been at worst disastrous and at best meaningless.

at (or in) the best of times

Even in the most favorable circumstances: his memory is poor at the best of times
More example sentences
  • His job - not easy at the best of times - is to try to persuade the member states to act together, wisely and well.
  • But get onto the lesser ring roads and the traffic movement is atrocious at the best of times.
  • It is famously difficult to get into Crannog at the best of times.

be for (or all for) the best

Be desirable in the end, although not at first seeming so.
Example sentences
  • Though her departure from the estate was a bittersweet one, she knew it was for the best, for although she did not know entirely where she belonged, she knew it wasn't there.
  • Still - reading what I've just written, maybe it was for the best.
  • Uncle Bill put a lot of work into a failed effort, but maybe it was for the best.

best of (or in) breed

The animal in a show judged to be the best representative of its breed.
Example sentences
  • Tender loving care has saved the show career of Luna who won ' best of breed ' for the third year running at Crufts.
  • Dog breeders Gary and Gill Gray were celebrating after their German Shepherd Lottie won best of breed.
  • He is hotly tipped to be named as best in breed in the north of England by the end of the summer season next month.
6.1Any item or product considered to be the best of its kind: their technology is still considered best of breed, and demand for their products is still growing
More example sentences
  • He is untouchable, Scotland's supreme champion, best of breed.
  • It will also have to persuade firms of the merits of best of breed rather than all-in-one solutions.
  • It's third-quarter 5.89 % total return also ranks it among the best of breed.

the best of friends

Very good friends.
Example sentences
  • We are now the best of friends - because friends can do anything together!
  • Last week we had been friends, not the best of friends, but friends nonetheless.
  • The three of us had become very close to each other and became the best of friends.

the best of three (or five, etc.)

Victory achieved by winning the majority of a specified (usually odd) number of games.
Example sentences
  • Games can end in a draw when both reach the same point total, and usually Briscola is played to the best of three or five games.
  • League games will continue to be played up to 21 points over the best of three games for this season, it was decided at York and District Table Tennis Association's annual meeting.
  • The Clan lost the opening game of the best of three set 70-58.

the best part of

Most of: it took them the best part of 10 years
More example sentences
  • Total mileage, probably the best part of 1000 miles plus all the interim travelling.
  • With the first of them opening in early January, they will have been flowering for the best part of two months.
  • At one end of this area, a massive building project has been underway for the best part of 20 years.

best wishes

An expression of hope for someone’s future happiness or welfare: we sent our best wishes for a speedy recovery
More example sentences
  • Congratulations and best wishes for future happiness to all concerned.
  • But leaving aside esoteric question of etiquette all best wishes for future happiness!
  • The entire FAS team and the community send her best wishes for her future happiness.
best wishes, regards, kind/kindest regards, greetings, compliments, felicitations, respects;
10.1Written at the end of a letter: Best wishes, Celia
More example sentences
  • Keep up in your studies, and try not to let this affect you. Best wishes to you, Darren.
  • You can suffer agonies of rejection when you sign off with ‘Love’, only to receive ‘Best wishes’ in return.
  • I look forward to hearing from you. Best wishes, George.

one's best years

The most vigorous and productive period of one’s life; one’s prime: he had spent the best years of his life working at the stables
More example sentences
  • The children lost their best years for obtaining a good education and for developing other skills and also had a difficult time when, eventually, they had to retire from their sport.
  • They work their best years with fierce determination - professional, savvy and keeping their beautifully made-up eyes on the bottom line and the final exit.
  • Progress would dry up as creative minds wasted their best years in uncreative apprenticeships, under the sour scrutiny of their elders.

do (or try) one's best

Do all one can: Ruth did her best to reassure her
More example sentences
  • I have always been a great believer in trying your best to get into good positions in sport.
  • You're trying your best to create, in front of the camera, some approximation of the real world.
  • You also drive under pressure all day trying your best to keep your bus on time.
do one's utmost, try one's hardest, make every effort, do all one can, give one's all
informal bend over backwards, do one's damnedest, go all out, pull out all the stops, bust a gut, break one's neck, move heaven and earth, bring one's A game, play one's A game

get the best of

Overcome (someone): his drinking got the best of him and he was fired
More example sentences
  • However, we never really got the best of the old building.
  • However, on the afternoon of their 10th anniversary, curiosity got the best of her and she lifted the lid and peeked inside.
  • I honestly believe that the president got the best of him by simply doing the opposite of whatever he recommended.

had best do something

Find it most sensible or well advised to do the thing mentioned: I’d best be going
More example sentences
  • Anyone who wants to raise this as a problem had best do it behind his back, because if he's around to respond, he will respond brilliantly.
  • My impression is that they realize that there's a crisis here, and they had best do something about it.
  • Having become totally addicted to waterfall hiking we realized we had best do it safely and respectfully.

make the best of

Derive what limited advantage one can from (something unsatisfactory or unwelcome): you’ll just have to make the best of the situation
More example sentences
  • He frequently makes the best of limited opportunities, and was again seen to advantage aboard Forest Leader in the moderate Rathkeale Handicap Hurdle.
  • The prevailing ethos on No Disco seemed a bit more thoughtful, a bit more arty, making the best of an obviously limited budget.
  • The complete tour of a Tokyo apartment - compact and bijou, but clean, light and equipped with modern equipment to make the best of the limited space.
15.1Use (resources) as well as possible: he tried to make the best of his talents
More example sentences
  • In addition to using skills such as maths and English, the youngsters would learn how to see opportunities and make the best of their resources.
  • We have to make the best of our maritime resources in all aspects.
  • We have here the where-with-all to make the best of all possible amenities.

to the best of one's ability

see ability.
Example sentences
  • My only advice for my sister was to use her military training to the best of her ability and stay strong.
  • He puts so much into everything he does that those around him are inspired to perform to the best of their ability: there is such a strong desire not to let him down.
  • The following is, to the best of my ability, a recreation of the factual debate between two of the presenters who shall go unnamed.

to the best of one's knowledge


with the best of them

As well or as much as anyone: he’ll be out there dancing with the best of them
More example sentences
  • The lucky threesome were whisked off to the home of Derby County - Pride Park - where they were wined and dined with the best of them.
  • She knows her French philosophers and can pontificate on Sartrian self-determinism with the best of them.
  • Scotland's new forward coach gets the ball away with the best of them but, when he is unable to do so, seldom fails to protect possession jealously.


Old English betest (adjective), betost, betst (adverb), of Germanic origin; related to Dutch and German best, also to better1.

Words that rhyme with best

abreast, arrest, attest, beau geste, behest, bequest, blessed, blest, breast, Brest, Bucharest, Budapest, celeste, chest, contest, crest, digest, divest, guest, hest, infest, ingest, jest, lest, Midwest, molest, nest, northwest, pest, prestressed, protest, quest, rest, self-addressed, self-confessed, self-possessed, southwest, suggest, test, Trieste, unaddressed, unexpressed, unimpressed, unpressed, unstressed, vest, west, wrest, zest

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: best

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