Definition of great in English:

great

Syllabification: great
Pronunciation: /ɡrāt
 
/

adjective

1Of an extent, amount, or intensity considerably above the normal or average: the article was of great interest she showed great potential as an actor
More example sentences
  • He's a young lad with a good physique and a great amount of potential.
  • Her work forces the viewer to think, and above all to feel, with great intensity.
  • Father Jones who hosted the event in is house thanks all those who helped in any way to raise such a great amount.
Synonyms
considerable, substantial, significant, appreciable, special, serious;
exceptional, extraordinary
large, big, extensive, expansive, broad, wide, sizable, ample;
1.1Very large and imposing: a great ocean between them
More example sentences
  • Rows of teeth exposed between the great jaws that turned the oceans into a sea of blood.
  • However, the book inhabits the surface of the great ocean of Russia more than the depths.
  • Last week saw a symbolic end for Clydebank, where once the great ocean liners were launched.
Synonyms
1.2 [attributive] Used to reinforce another adjective of size or extent: a great big grin
More example sentences
  • It was a lovely moment, happening just after we'd got into bed and I think I went to sleep with a great big grin on my face.
  • I gave him a great big Yorkshire grin and looked around nervously.
  • This comes in a great handy little size and is very trendy and a very good price.
1.3 [attributive] Used to express surprise, admiration, or contempt, especially in exclamations: you great oaf!
More example sentences
  • You have no right to order me around anymore, you great lump.
  • ‘Will you shut up, you great twit?’
  • Get your priorities right, you great oaf.
Synonyms
1.4 (also greater) [attributive] Used in names of animals or plants that are larger than similar kinds, e.g., great auk, greater flamingo.
More example sentences
  • The Great Tit has all the characters of the other Parus species and is unmistakable given its large, robust size, relatively heavy bill and domed head.
  • When searching for food a great spotted woodpecker usually alights on the trunk then works upwards and often from side to side.
  • There are two species of dogfish in Guernsey waters, the Lesser Spotted and the Greater Spotted of Bull Huss.
1.5 (Greater) [attributive] (Of a city) including adjacent urban areas: Greater Cleveland
More example sentences
  • Merton is an outer London Borough situated in the South West of Greater London and covers an area of 9380 acres, some of which are open parklands.
  • The Bristol Brass and Wind Ensemble is a community band that rehearses in Bristol and performs in the greater Bristol area.
  • Archaeologists have unearthed a ‘mini-Stonehenge’ in Greater Manchester, England, which dates back to about 5,000 years.
2Of ability, quality, or eminence considerably above the normal or average: the great Italian conductor we obeyed our great men and leaders great art has the power to change lives
More example sentences
  • He did concede, however, that there were some whose quality was so great that they must be saved.
  • Westlake, for you youngsters, is a crime novelist of long standing and great eminence.
  • The event is just dreadful and yet the way it's recorded is great art and it leads us into a kind of paradox.
Synonyms
leading, top, major, principal, first-rate, matchless, peerless, star
2.1 (the Great) A title denoting the most important person of the name: Alexander the Great
More example sentences
  • It was a royal city from 893 to 972 and the reign of Tsar Simeon the Great was the heyday of its glory.
  • It was on May 5th in the year of 1950 that His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great was crowned.
  • He seemed to be bred for the Navy, like his great Ancestor Piotr the Great.
2.2 informal Very good or satisfactory; excellent: this has been another great year what a great guy wouldn’t it be great to have him back? [as exclamation]: “Great!” said Tom
More example sentences
  • This is slightly harder to do, but with practice it makes an excellent show-stopper and a great way to win a pig.
  • The staff always go out of their way for me, too, and the guys who own it are great blokes.
  • I never knew his Dad, but if he was anything like his son I'm sure he was a truly great guy.
Synonyms
2.3 [predicative] informal (Of a person) very skilled or capable in a particular area: a brilliant man, great at mathematics
More example sentences
  • She knows how all - consuming life becomes in this business and she is great at keeping my feet on the ground.
  • She was great at reading other people, just not so perceptive when it came to herself.
  • I'm terribly proud of her and I think she's great at her job, and being a mother.
Synonyms
expert, skillful, skilled, adept, accomplished, talented, fine, masterly, master, brilliant, virtuoso, marvelous, outstanding, first-class, superb
informal crack, ace, A1, class
3 [attributive] Denoting the element of something that is the most important or the most worthy of consideration: the great thing is the challenge
More example sentences
  • The air of studied banality persists even during moments of great importance.
  • Meditation is of great importance and is central to the practice of the Eightfold Path.
  • The room was next to the kitchen and was a place of great importance.
Synonyms
powerful, dominant, influential, strong, potent, formidable, redoubtable;
leading, important, foremost, major, chief, principal
3.1Used to indicate that someone or something particularly deserves a specified description: I was a great fan of Hank’s
More example sentences
  • Eileen is very quiet and Brian is wonderful, he has been a great friend of mine over the years and I am delighted for them.
  • As a great fan of porridge, I was looking forward to judging the offerings.
  • I'm a great fan of cryptic crosswords, even though they are tantalisingly difficult.
Synonyms
4 [in combination] (In names of family relationships) denoting one degree further removed upward or downward: great-aunt great-granddaughter great-great-grandfather
More example sentences
  • My great-grandmother's fabulous turkey stuffing recipe is revealed!
  • My great grandfather left the area and moved to one of the great Welsh mining valleys and began working for the Cooperative Society as a butcher.
  • So it is quite possible that your great-great-grandfather could have been a well-paid manager for a fairground family for many years.

noun

Back to top  
1A great or distinguished person: the Beatles, Bob Dylan, all the greats
More example sentences
  • In America she worked with the greats of jazz, people like Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.
  • She has never envied the success of country music's greats.
  • She has that effortless way with a song that only the greats have.
1.1 (as plural noun the great) Great people collectively: the lives of the great, including Churchill and Newton
More example sentences
  • MOVIE GREATS is where you'll re-acquaint yourself with the true Hollywood greats or discover them for the first time, with movies that became legendary or cult hits presented in entertaining festivals and specials.
  • The finals are the stage on which all the greats want to prove themselves.
2 (Greats) British informal another term for Literae Humaniores.
More example sentences
  • Never in the strict sense of the word a clever man - even by the academic standard (he took only a third in Mods. and a second in Greats, and worked hard for them, too) - he became an extraordinarily well-educated one.
  • Born and brought up in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire, he gained an open scholarship to Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1948, reading Greats and taking a diploma in Classical Archaeology.
  • He went on to graduate from Oxford in 1907 with a degree in the “greats”, Literae Humaniores.

adverb

informal Back to top  
Excellently; very well: we played awful, they played great
More example sentences
  • We got along great when we were dating, living together, and even MUCH better once we got married.
  • They played great in all their matches.
  • I think he did great in this, it's a big film to walk into.

Origin

Old English grēat 'big'; related to Dutch groot and German gross.

Phrases

great and small

Of all sizes, classes, or types: all creatures great and small
More example sentences
  • The government-run Nature Reserve is not just about looking after the orang-utans, however - it is about preserving an entire wildlife habitat, ensuring that all species great and small within the resort are protected.
  • Rugby is a team sport, but one which has been said to be the most ‘democratic'. That is, all creatures great and small can play the game.
  • Available and affordable to all people, great and small, this half-moon of golden flaky pastry filled with spicy ground beef is the kind of food upon which admirable societies are based.

a great deal

see deal1.

a great many

see many.

a great one for

A habitual doer of; an enthusiast for: my father was a great one for buying gadgets
More example sentences
  • My father wasn't a great one for books, although he read the newspaper carefully, listened to radio broadcasts of the news and sport, and encouraged me to read.
  • He was a great one for talking to people and a very amusing character.
  • I'm not a great one for e-mail campaigns and joining in protests, probably mostly because I'm just not a ‘joining’ sort of person, but I found that this horrific story just demands action.

Great Scott!

Expressing surprise or amazement.
[arbitrary euphemism for Great God!]
More example sentences
  • ‘Great Scott!’ he gasped in his stupefaction, using the name of the then commander-in-chief for an oath, as officers sometimes did in those days.
  • Great Scott, he's done it again!
  • Great Scott, who would have thought that this would be the destiny of the Union Volunteer in 1861-2 while marching down Broadway to the tune of 'John Brown's Body.

to a great extent

In a substantial way; largely: we are all to a great extent the product of our culture
More example sentences
  • According to him, this applies to a great extent to the German market, which is extremely volatile at the moment.
  • This loosened the existing caste rigidities to a great extent.
  • The lack of aid in the northeast bothered me to a great extent.

Definition of great in:

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