Definition of high in English:

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Pronunciation: /hī/


1Of great vertical extent: the top of a high mountain the mast was higher than the tallest building in the city
More example sentences
  • To the south there are high mountains, covered in thick spring snow.
  • Crystal clear streams flow down from the high mountains into the Datong River.
  • The conditions in the high mountains were hard and four of our group turned back.
tall, lofty, towering, soaring, elevated, giant, big;
multistory, high-rise
1.1(After a measurement and in questions) measuring a specified distance from top to bottom: a tree forty feet high how high is the fence?
More example sentences
  • The fox cleared a six-foot high fence to get among the chickens and would have killed them all had it not been disturbed.
  • Deep in the heart of Central India there is a wild forest surrounded by sheer 1,200 feet high cliffs.
  • The two-and-a-half tonne boat was lowered down a sheer cliff 200 ft high.
1.2Far above ground, sea level, or another point of reference: a fortress high up on a hill
More example sentences
  • Most sports utility vehicles are so high off the ground that your dog has to be virtually airborne or a St Bernard to be able to climb in.
  • Filming at high altitude in the Peruvian Andes wasn't always much fun.
  • At high altitudes, the thin air makes it hard to breathe unless the cabin is pressurized.
1.3Extending above the normal or average level: a round face with a high forehead
More example sentences
  • His hair was receding at the front and he had a high forehead.
  • Her broad flat forehead and high cheekbones catch the light from the windows behind them.
  • She's either not made up or has applied very subtle cosmetics to her high forehead and cute snub nose.
1.4 [attributive] (Of territory or landscape) inland and well above sea level: high prairies
More example sentences
  • The traditional territory contains a diversity of landscapes with rugged mountains and numerous valleys and high prairies.
  • This species ranged the high grasslands of western North America from Alaska to Mexico, while a lighter-built species (Arctodus pristinus) with smaller teeth inhabited the more heavily wooded Atlantic coastal region.
1.5Near to the top of a real or notional list in order of rank or importance: financial security is high on your list of priorities
More example sentences
  • He said this situation had put the issue of imports very high on the agenda.
  • Robert Altman has definitely made better films, but this one must rank high on the list.
  • Finding a permanent home for the campus is high on the university's agenda.
high-ranking, high-level, leading, top, top-level, prominent, preeminent, foremost, senior;
influential, powerful, important, elevated, prime, premier, exalted, ranking
informal top-notch, chief
1.6 [attributive] Performed at, to, or from a considerable height: high diving
More example sentences
  • In terms of risk, this is on a par with high diving into a piranha pool.
  • Born in Thirsk in 192, he excelled early in a variety of sports, and became a champion in boxing, high diving, and pole vaulting.
  • Southall was finally booked for his second late and high lunge on the Norwegian Riise inside five minutes.
1.7 Baseball (Of a pitched ball) above a certain level, such as the batter’s armpits, as it crosses home plate, and thus outside the strike zone.
Example sentences
  • In a year or two, he was able to hit the high fastball or at least take the pitch.
  • Jim Edmonds of the Cardinals led off the top of the ninth inning with a high fly down the left field line.
  • He's focusing on balance to avoid lunging for high pitches out of the strike zone.
2Great, or greater than normal, in quantity, size, or intensity: a high temperature fudge is high in calories
More example sentences
  • Chickpeas are exceptionally high in protein and very low in fat, making them an ideal food.
  • Cashews are high in protein and carbohydrate as well as being rich in vitamin A.
  • Waves on Puget Sound were so high that day that only four crew members could row.
inflated, excessive, unreasonable, expensive, costly, exorbitant, extortionate, prohibitive, dear
informal steep, stiff, pricey
strong, powerful, violent, intense, extreme, forceful;
blustery, gusty, stiff, squally, tempestuous, turbulent, howling, roaring
2.1Of large numerical or monetary value: they had been playing for high stakes
More example sentences
  • But poker is most interesting when the stakes are high and small fortunes rest on the draw of a card.
  • You are 65, but you played for high stakes over several years, and eventually you lost.
  • It seems to me that many in the U.S. don't quite appreciate how high the stakes are.
2.2Very favorable: nature had provided him with an admirably high opinion of himself
More example sentences
  • I don't mind you talking about me to your friends, but it doesn't seem any of them have a very high opinion of me. maybe rightly.
  • The fact that Britain's No 2 has a ferocious serve and a high opinion of his own abilities only makes matters worse.
  • Self-esteem means having a high opinion of ourselves regardless of what we may or may not have done to earn it.
favorable, good, positive, approving, admiring, complimentary, commendatory, flattering, glowing, adulatory, rapturous
2.3Extreme in religious or political views: the high Christology of the Christian creeds
More example sentences
  • The most striking characteristic of this political approach is the author's patent partiality and clear adherence to high Tory principles.
  • Christina, like her mother and sister Maria, was a devout High Anglican, much influenced by the Tractarians.
2.4(Of a period or movement) at its peak: high summer
More example sentences
  • The existing public lavatory is used by 600 people a day in high summer.
  • If succulent plants are kept out in the high summer months then they get affected.
  • It was high summer when I was there and as the days rolled on and flawless blue sky followed flawless blue sky, it began to get a little boring.
2.5(Of latitude) close to 90°; near the North or South Pole: high southern latitudes
More example sentences
  • They also occur more often in the winter and in the middle to high latitudes rather than near to the equator.
  • It is found in the recently glaciated areas of the Northern hemisphere and high latitudes in the Southern hemisphere.
  • These then flow from the high latitudes, circulating cool water throughout the world's ocean basins.
3Great in rank or status: he held high office in professional organizations
3.1Ranking above others of the same kind: they announced the High Commissioner’s retirement
More example sentences
  • Brian Ború was crowned King of Munster here in 977 and he became High King of Ireland in 1002.
  • The site was considered the capital of Ireland, when it became the seat of the High King, who would rule the dozens of kingdoms that had emerged across the country.
3.2Morally or culturally superior: they believed that nature was driven by something higher than mere selfishness
More example sentences
  • The auteur's true genius lies in his ability to combine high art with popular culture.
  • The Czechs are nothing if not talented musicians with a deep love of fine culture and high art.
  • One final relevant feature of postmodernity is its mixture of popular and high culture.
high-minded, noble, lofty, moral, ethical, honorable, exalted, admirable, upright, honest, virtuous, righteous
4(Of a sound or note) having a frequency at the upper end of the auditory range: a high, squeaky voice
More example sentences
  • As they cross into his yard, their voices fade to a dull murmur punctuated by high laughter.
  • Her voice was high and almost childish as she gave the man a playful swat on the arm.
  • The intro was played softly and her voice was high and sweet, singing the melody.
high-pitched, high-frequency;
soprano, treble, falsetto, shrill, sharp, piercing, penetrating
4.1(Of a singer or instrument) producing notes of relatively high pitch: a high soprano voice
More example sentences
  • He wrote several so-called ‘concert’ arias, tailor-made for Aloysia's astonishing high soprano.
  • His energy in concert was quite inspiring, each song found him stomping about the stage, singing in a high tenor with sparse instrumentation provided by an acoustic guitar.
  • The G clef is used for the upper staff of keyboard music, the soprano voice, and the high instruments (e.g. violin or flute).
5 [predicative] informal Excited; euphoric: he was high on an idea
More example sentences
  • During some of these incidents he admitted to being high on heroin and cocaine.
  • During the three-week trial the jury heard Giles, 19, was high on drink and drugs at the time of the attack.
  • It was 2001 when Joe was physically attacked by a passenger he believes was high on drugs.
intoxicated, inebriated, drugged, on drugs, stupefied, befuddled, delirious, hallucinating
informal stoned, wired, blitzed, baked, hopped up, high as a kite, tripping, hyped up, doped up, coked, spaced out, wasted, wrecked
5.1Intoxicated with drugs: some of them were already high on alcohol and Ecstasy
6 [predicative] Unpleasantly strong-smelling, in particular (of food) beginning to go bad.
Example sentences
  • The cheese was rather high, and tended to crumble when we opened the tin, but it was quite edible.
6.1(Of game) slightly decomposed and so ready to cook.
Example sentences
  • Mine are hung for no more than 2 or 3 days especially over the last few years what with the milder winters. Its a question of taste and how high you like your bird.
  • The meat was quite high with complex strong flavours, which is just the way I like it.
7 Phonetics (Of a vowel) produced with the tongue relatively near the palate.
Example sentences
  • The symbol ‘i’ in IPA (as in most orthographies) denotes a high front vowel.
  • New York pronunciation has a long, tense, very round vowel in words like caught, and a long, tense, relatively high vowel in words such as cab.


1A high point, level, or figure: commodity prices were at a rare high
More example sentences
  • In Finland, sea levels reached record highs, cutting off several coastal roads, but no major damage was reported.
  • In 2002, unemployment levels reached historic highs of 23 percent, real wages plummeted and the peso was severely devalued.
  • This is a big worry, because mortgage debt and consumer credit figures keep hitting new highs every month.
high level, high point, peak, high-water mark;
pinnacle, zenith, acme, height
1.1A notably happy or successful moment: the highs and lows of life
More example sentences
  • The awards give students the opportunity to experience the emotional highs and lows and the practicalities of a live performance.
  • Most of these players had never experienced emotional highs and lows of such a magnitude in such a close time period.
  • John will talk about his own background and experience, sharing the highs and lows of running a successful business.
1.2A high-frequency sound or musical note.
Example sentences
  • From the mellow, dark low register to brilliant instrumental highs, his sound is beautiful - like musical crystal.
  • She improvised the notes, the highs and lows but still stuck to the original song.
  • Excellent move, because the iRiver's audio quality remains one of the best on the market, with eardrum-busting bass notes or ethereal highs.
1.3An area of high atmospheric pressure; an anticyclone.
Example sentences
  • In the southern hemisphere it is the meeting place of the dry east to southeast winds generated by the subtropical highs, and the moisture-laden northwesterly monsoon winds.
  • The high may move northward to cover Scotland or stay stuck just south of the UK.
  • These intermittent highs effectively separate the northwestern trough from the deep-water regions of the Hatton-Rockall and Iceland Basins to the west.
2 [usually in singular] informal A state of high spirits or euphoria: the highs I got from cocaine always ended in despair the team is still on a high from Saturday’s victory
More example sentences
  • Cannabis does alter your mind. It can make you more irritable, or sometimes depress you, or sometimes put you on a high.
  • Fortunately, I was on a high by now, and energy was pouring out of me.
  • I was on a high for the rest of the night, and it lasted until the next day.
ecstatic, euphoric, exhilarated, delirious, elated, ebullient, thrilled, overjoyed, beside oneself, walking on air, on cloud nine, in seventh heaven, jumping for joy, in raptures, in high spirits, exultant, jubilant;
excited, overexcited
informal blissed out, over the moon, on top of the world
3 informal, chiefly North American High school (chiefly used in names): I enjoyed my years at McKinley High
More example sentences
  • And these were girls that Haylie had grown up with, in middle school and junior high.
  • He had gone to my elementary school, moved on to junior high, and I never saw him again.
  • I was in the last year of primary school while my sister was in junior high.
4A high power setting: the vent blower was on high
More example sentences
  • A similar phenomenon occurs when you have a heater set on high in an overheated room with all the windows and doors closed.
  • I lie in bed, clad in shorts and a tank top, with the fan on high and all the windows open.
  • When the rice is cooked, microwave the cabbage on high for two to three minutes or until soft.
4.1Top gear in a motor vehicle.
Example sentences
  • While Sullivan hasn't reached Mikita and Savard's heights, he has recorded career highs in goals and points in this, his second season with the Hawks.


1At or to a considerable or specified height: the sculpture stood about five feet high
More example sentences
  • Mr Bond said that before the council collected the mess this week it was piled five feet high against the wall of the flats.
  • So, despite these edicts, new apartment houses continued to be built five or six storeys high.
  • I was a little concerned that I would pitch my material too high or too low.
at great height, high up, far up, way up, at altitude;
in the air, in the sky, on high, aloft, overhead
2Highly: he ranked high among the pioneers of twentieth-century chemical technology
More example sentences
  • There is no great benefit from ranking high this year as next year there are no World Championships.
  • It has to be said that Pas de la Casa is boring, unless getting legless ranks high on your list.
  • What is lacking are not the resources, but the political will. It is clear these topics do not rate very high on his agenda.
2.1At a high price: buying shares low and selling them high
More example sentences
  • PC vendors may even keep their prices high and use the cuts to fatten their own margins.
  • At one time it had instituted proceedings against more than 130 banks for colluding to keep prices high.
  • It depends in part on how high the oil price goes and for how long.
3(Of a sound) at or to a high pitch.
Example sentences
  • We, the campaigners for radical change, have to raise our voices high.
  • My voice went high with excitement.
  • Without realizing it, I had raised my voice high enough for the whole class to hear.



ace (or king or queen, etc.) high

(In card games) having the ace (or another specified card) as the highest-ranking.
Example sentences
  • Normal ranking of the cards applies, with ace high.
  • The deck is a standard American deck of fifty-two cards, ace high.
  • When cutting for deal the cards now rank in their normal order with ace high, and the deal can be one or three cards at a time at the dealer's choice.

from on high

From a very high place.
Example sentences
  • The guests were met by a man serving drinks who told them Esther would make an appearance at 5pm, and then, lo and behold, there she was on a balcony saying hello from on high before descending.
  • Some of us can recall when a daisy-cutter was a small, red ball skipping low across the turf, rather than a large black one containing several thousand pounds of penetrative explosives lobbed from on high.
  • From the balcony, there is a bird's eye view of Basingstoke, including the station - a surprisingly elegant building when viewed from on high.
2.1From remote high authority or heaven: government programs coming down from on high
More example sentences
  • Nick's work with the homeless and the long-term unemployed, has won him recognition from on high, and I'm not just talking about the heavens.
  • The inclusion of developing countries in a meeting of advanced industrialised countries reflects an awareness that elitist decisions cannot be imposed from on high without the cooperation of those whose interests they will affect.
  • In the past decade, however, strategy and policy have increasingly been handed down from on high, with governors being required to implement such policy with no regard for their concerns over the dangers such implementation may pose.

high and dry

Out of the water, especially the sea as it retreats: when the tide goes out, a lot of boats are left high and dry
More example sentences
  • By carbon-dating sediments deposited in the lake's spillways or in marshes left high and dry by sudden drops in water, scientists can now chronicle the lake's changing profile.
  • Beadlet anemones are found in such shallow water that they are left high and dry at low tide.
  • The ark was a refuge until the waters went down, leaving Noah and his menagerie high and dry on Mount Ararat.
3.1In a difficult position, especially without resources: when the plant shut down, hundreds of workers found themselves high and dry
More example sentences
  • The 130 people, many sick or elderly, were left high and dry in the French pilgrimage town after their tour operator, Bon Voyage, couldn't provide a plane on Sunday.
  • This suggests yet another consequence of the cuts, which is that the women who are employed in the childcare sector will also be left high and dry now that their source of revenue has been seriously attenuated.
  • The scale of the crisis will become more evident on Tuesday when the watchdogs deliver their latest report, confirming that 60% of homeowners look set to be left high and dry.
destitute, helpless, in the lurch, in difficulties;
abandoned, stranded, marooned

high and low

In many different places: we searched high and low for a new teacher
More example sentences
  • Their distraught owners, who have searched high and low for their missing pets, fear it is more than a coincidence.
  • He is part of the family and we have been searching high and low for him.
  • At the end of the day this crime is unprecedented, we are searching high and low to find who is responsible.
everywhere, all over, all around, far and wide, 'here, there, and everywhere', extensively, thoroughly, widely, in every nook and cranny
informal all over the place, all over the map

high and mighty

Pronunciation: /ˈhī ən ˈmīdē/
informal5.1 Thinking or acting as though one is more important than others.
Example sentences
  • It's a little too easy to come on all high and mighty about insolvency when you've never been there yourself.
  • I tried to act like everyone else in Warrington, high and mighty and convinced of my own superiority, but I couldn't pull it off.
  • Even though his Mum was too high and mighty to keep visiting me he used to come by whenever he were near the place and I'm pretty fond of the lad.
self-important, condescending, patronizing, pompous, disdainful, supercilious, superior, snobbish, snobby, haughty, conceited, above oneself
informal stuck-up, puffed up, snooty, hoity-toity, la-di-da, uppity, full of oneself, too big for one's britches/boots

a high old time

informal A most enjoyable time: they had a high old time at the clambake
More example sentences
  • Undoubtedly we had four days of the highest quality jumps racing, and when the favourites win both the Champion Hurdle and the Cheltenham Gold Cup you would be entitled to conclude that the punters had a high old time of it.
  • The impetus behind the capital of culture project is to put Cork on the map and to give Cork's populace and visitors a high old time.
  • He fidgets around the sofa, crossing his arms, chewing his lip and wearing a curious smirk that could either mean he's having a high old time or that he's never hated an interview more.

high, wide, and handsome

informal Expansive and impressive.
From Arizona Nights by Stewart E. White (1873–1946), US author

it is high time that ——

It is past the time when something should have happened or been done: it was high time that she faced the facts
More example sentences
  • ‘Travel agents and tour operators operate a bonding system and it is high time that airline consumers had the same protection,’ Mr Brazil said.
  • I would suggest that it is high time that government reconsidered how it is going to deal with drug pushers, for current methods are expensive, fundamentally ineffective and deny funding in far more needy areas.
  • The fact that Ireland hasn't had a national agricultural policy since we joined the EU shows how complacent we have become and it is high time that we become more pro-active.

on high

In or to heaven or a high place: a spotter plane circling on high
More example sentences
  • We managed, somehow, to keep our jobs, but alas, people on high had noticed and we were soon split up.
  • How can anyone sit on high, preach the law and preach about justice and then send someone to their death?
  • Someone on high wants it covered up and Brennan is determined to find out why.

on one's high horse

informal Used to refer to someone’s behaving in an arrogant or pompous manner: get down off your high horse
More example sentences
  • I think you'd have to be a bit of an asshole to get on your high horse and say ‘no we don't wanna play any of the old stuff’ and only play songs off the new record.
  • Before anyone gets back on their high horse, I have not missed a Sunday for church in something like nine years unless it is for weather, family emergency, or I am travelling.
  • So maybe the FA should get their own house in order before climbing on their high horse.

run high

(Of a river) be full and close to overflowing, with a strong current.
Example sentences
  • Homeowners and businesses in Sheffield and Doncaster had to pump water from downstairs rooms and cellars and loud hailers were used to warn businesses that the River Sheaf was running high close to Midland Station.
  • The river is running high, and the boats settle into the current south of the Wilson Bridge.
  • It's spring in western Montana; the rivers are running high and the newspapers are running stories of capsized canoes and dogs washed away.
be strong, be fervent, be passionate, be intense
11.1(Of feelings) be intense: passions run high when marriages break up
More example sentences
  • Passions have been running high in the Australian community with regard to her twenty-year sentence for drug trafficking; the majority of people believed she was innocent.
  • As always, passions will be running high at the start of the game and the play will be fast and furious.
  • Passions continued to run high in the Italian city of Genoa last night despite the end of the G8 summit.


Old English hēah, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hoog and German hoch.

  • High is one of those small words that plays a part in a large number of expressions. In the calendar of the Christian Church there used to be two sorts of special day: a high day and a holiday. Holiday (Old English) was originally holy day and was a day set apart for religious observance. A high day was a much more important religious festival commemorating a particular sacred person or event. These together give us high days and holidays. Being high on drugs is associated with the 1960s, but the expression goes back at least to the 1930s. Alcohol can also be classed as a drug, and you can read of a man being ‘high with wine’ as early as 1627.

    The first records of high, wide, and handsome, ‘expansive and impressive’, are from US newspapers in the 1880s. In 1932 a book on Yankee Slang comments that it is a common shout at rodeos: ‘Ride him, Cowboy, high, wide, and handsome.’ The expression to be for the high jump might conjure up athletics, but behind it lies a much grimmer scene. It dates from the early 20th century, when it was a slang term used by soldiers to mean ‘to be put on trial before your commanding officer’. The image is actually of a person being executed by hanging, with the jump being the effect of the gallows trapdoor being suddenly opened beneath their feet. See also hog

Words that rhyme with high

ally, Altai, apply, assai, awry, ay, aye, Baha'i, belie, bi, Bligh, buy, by, bye, bye-bye, chi, Chiangmai, Ciskei, comply, cry, Cy, Dai, defy, deny, Di, die, do-or-die, dry, Dubai, dye, espy, eye, fie, fly, forbye, fry, Frye, goodbye (US goodby), guy, hereby, hi, hie, I, imply, I-spy, July, kai, lie, lye, Mackay, misapply, my, nearby, nigh, Nye, outfly, passer-by, phi, pi, pie, ply, pry, psi, Qinghai, rai, rely, rocaille, rye, scry, serai, shanghai, shy, sigh, sky, Skye, sky-high, sly, spin-dry, spry, spy, sty, Sukhotai, supply, Tai, Thai, thereby, thigh, thy, tie, Transkei, try, tumble-dry, underlie, Versailles, Vi, vie, whereby, why, wry, Wye, xi, Xingtai, Yantai

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: high

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