See also: Best

English

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Pronunciation

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Etymology 1

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From Middle English beste, best, from Old English betst, betest, from Proto-Germanic *batistaz.

Adjective

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best (comparative better or (nonstandard, humorous) bester, superlative (nonstandard, humorous) bestest)

  1. superlative form of good: most good.
    I can either be your best friend or your worst enemy.
    • c. 1596–1598 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Merchant of Venice”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene ii], page 163, column 1:
      [] when he is beſt, he is a little worſe then a man, and when he is worſt, he is little better than a beaſt:
    • 1667, John Milton, “Book V”, in Paradise Lost. [], London: [] [Samuel Simmons], and are to be sold by Peter Parker []; [a]nd by Robert Boulter []; [a]nd Matthias Walker, [], →OCLC; republished as Paradise Lost in Ten Books: [], London: Basil Montagu Pickering [], 1873, →OCLC, line 19:
      Heav'ns laſt beſt gift, my ever new delight,
    • 2011 October 7, Lana Del Rey, Justin Parker (lyrics and music), “Video Games”, in Born to Die, performed by Lana Del Rey:
      Swinging in the backyard
      Pull up in your fast car whistling my name
      Open up a beer
      And you say get over here and play a video game
      []
      I say you the bestest
      Lean in for a big kiss, put his favorite perfume on
      Go play your video game
    • 2013 August 10, Schumpeter, “Cronies and capitols”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8848:
      Policing the relationship between government and business in a free society is difficult. [] Governments have to find the best people to fill important jobs: there is a limited supply of people who understand the financial system, for example. But governments must also remember that businesses are self-interested actors who will try to rig the system for their own benefit.
  2. Most; largest.
    Unpacking took the best part of a week.
  3. Most superior; most favorable.
    In my opinion, mushrooms are the best pizza toppings.
Usage notes
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Antonyms
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Derived terms
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Translations
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Adverb

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best

  1. superlative form of well: most well
  2. To the most advantage; with the most success, cause, profit, benefit, or propriety.
Translations
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Noun

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best (countable and uncountable, plural bests)

  1. (uncountable) The supreme effort one can make, or has made.
    I did my best.
    My personal best in that race is eighteen minutes, four seconds.
    • 2011 September 28, Tom Rostance, “Arsenal 2 - 1 Olympiakos”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      Home defender Per Mertesacker had to be at his best to stop a dangerous cross from Vassilis Torossidis reaching Djebbour, but moments later Arsenal doubled their lead through Santos.
  2. (uncountable) One's best behavior.
    I was somewhat distant lately, and my lady promised me head every Tuesday of the week when I’m nice to her, so I better be on my best.
  3. (countable) The person (or persons; or thing or things) that is (are) most excellent.
    Even the best of us makes mistakes.
    We're the best of friends.
    • 1994, Otis L. Guernsey, Jeffrey Sweet, The Best Plays of 1993-1994, page vii:
      Mel Gussow reviews the bests of off off Broadway
    • 1995 October, Cincinnati Magazine, page 5:
      But in true Cincinnati style, the bests consistently outnumber the worsts.
    • 2011, G. Edward Evans, Sheila S. Intner, Jean Riddle Weihs, Introduction to Technical Services, page 149:
      There are the bests for each institution, the bests for coalitions, and, of course, the bests for the group as a whole.
    • 2013, Jesse Jose, Collections Of My Best And Most-Hated, "A Cup O' Kapeng Barako" Writings, page 209:
      If he's one of the bests, he should be fighting the bests, NOT the pipitsugins.
Derived terms
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Translations
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Verb

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best (third-person singular simple present bests, present participle besting, simple past and past participle bested)

  1. To surpass in skill or achievement.
  2. (transitive) To beat in a contest.
    • 1944 July and August, Charles E. Lee, “The "City of Truro"”, in Railway Magazine, pages 201–202:
      The Norddeutscher Lloyd steamship Kronprinz Wilhelm left New York on May 3 [1904], at 3.10 p.m. and reached Plymouth Sound on May 9 at 8 a.m. This was then a very fast crossing of the Atlantic, but it was not the record. The same ship had held the "Blue Riband" in 1902, but had been slightly bested by the Kaiser Wilhelm II, a larger vessel of the same line, in 1903, and that stood as the record until the Cunard Line secured the honours in 1909 with the Mauretania and held them for an unbroken period of 20 years.
    • 2010, T. William Phillips, Restless Heart, page 16:
      "You did not win because I was sloppy. You bested me, Uncle. I've never seen you fight like that before.”
Conjugation
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Antonyms
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Derived terms
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Translations
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Derived terms

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Etymology 2

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Shortening of had best

Verb

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best

  1. (modal verb, colloquial) Had best.
    It's getting late. You best get on home.
    • 1935, Edward Joseph O'Brien, John Cournos, editors, The Best British Short Stories of 1935, page 37:
      'We best be going,' she said, looking at the clock.
    • 2010, Mary B. Morrison, Somebody's Gotta Be On Top:
      Brother, you best be gone when I return.
Usage notes
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  • Although it is sometimes considered an adverb, best is virtually synonymous with should in We best be going. and ought to We best go.. Should and ought are auxiliary verbs.

References

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Anagrams

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Dutch

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Pronunciation

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Etymology 1

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From Middle Dutch best, from Old Dutch *betst, from Proto-Germanic *batistaz, superlative of *gōdaz. Compare Low German best, English best, West Frisian best, German besten, Danish bedst.

Adjective

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best

  1. superlative degree of goed; best.
  2. fine, okay
    Mag ik buiten spelen? — Ik vind het best, als je maar voor het eten weer thuis bent.
    May I go and play outside? — It's fine with me, as long as you're back home again before dinner.
  3. dear, venerable (in a polite address)
    Beste Piet, wij danken je voor 40 jaar trouwe dienst.
    Dear Piet, we thank you for 40 years of loyal service.
Inflection
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  • (definite inflected form): beste
Synonyms
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Descendants
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  • Afrikaans: beste
  • Berbice Creole Dutch: besti
  • Negerhollands: bes, best
  • ? Sranan Tongo: besi

Adverb

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best

  1. quite, rather
    Dat zou best kunnen.
    It's quite possible.

Etymology 2

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Noun

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best f (plural besten, diminutive bestje n)

  1. (dated, chiefly diminutive) Alternative form of bes (old woman).

Masurian

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Etymology

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Inherited from Old Polish bez.

Pronunciation

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  • IPA(key): [ˈbɛst]
  • Syllabification: best

Noun

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best m inan (related adjective bestowi)

  1. elder (bush of genus Sambucus)
  2. lilac (bush of genus Syringa)

Further reading

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  • Zofia Stamirowska (1987-2024) “I. bez”, in Anna Basara, editor, Słownik gwar Ostródzkiego, Warmii i Mazur[2], volume 1, Zakład Narodowy im. Ossolińskich Wydawnictwo Polskiej Akademii Nauk, →ISBN, page 165
  • Günter Donder (2011) “+”, in Kleines masurisches Wörterbuch mit Lesestücken und einen Tonträger[3] (in German), archived from the original on 10/12/2023, page 11

Middle Dutch

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Etymology

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From Old Dutch *betst, from Proto-Germanic *batistaz.

Pronunciation

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Adjective

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best

  1. best; superlative degree of goet

Adverb

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best

  1. best; superlative degree of wel

Descendants

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Middle English

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Etymology 1

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From Old English betst, betest.

Adjective

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best

  1. Alternative form of beste

Adverb

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best

  1. Alternative form of beste

Etymology 2

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From Old French beste.

Noun

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best

  1. Alternative form of beeste

Norwegian Bokmål

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Etymology

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From Old Norse beztr.

Adjective

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best

  1. indefinite singular superlative degree of god: best
  2. indefinite singular superlative degree of bra: best

Derived terms

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References

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Norwegian Nynorsk

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Etymology

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From Old Norse beztr.

Adjective

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best

  1. indefinite singular superlative degree of god: best
  2. indefinite singular superlative degree of bra

References

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Old Saxon

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Alternative forms

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Etymology

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From Proto-Germanic *batistaz.

Adverb

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best

  1. best

Descendants

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Plautdietsch

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Verb

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best

  1. second-person singular present of sennen

Portuguese

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Etymology

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Unadapted borrowing from English best.

Pronunciation

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Noun

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best m or f by sense (invariable)

  1. (Brazil, chiefly Internet slang) bestie
    Synonym: BFF

Further reading

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  • best” in Dicionário inFormal.

Scots

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Pronunciation

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Adjective

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best

  1. superlative degree of guid

Derived terms

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  • ill-best (best of a bad lot, best of a poor selection)

Noun

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best (plural bests)

  1. groomsman

Swedish

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Etymology

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Ultimately from Latin bēstia.

Pronunciation

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Noun

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best c

  1. beast

Declension

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Declension of best 
Singular Plural
Indefinite Definite Indefinite Definite
Nominative best besten bestar bestarna
Genitive bests bestens bestars bestarnas

Anagrams

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