views updated Jun 27 2018

best / best/ superlative of good. • adj. of the most excellent, effective, or desirable type or quality: the best pitcher in the league. ∎  most enjoyable: some of the best times of my life. ∎  most appropriate, advantageous, or well advised: do whatever you think best.• adv. superlative of well1 . ∎  to the highest degree; most: the one we liked best. ∎  most excellently or effectively: the best-dressed man in Hollywood. ∎  most suitably, appropriately, or usefully: this is best done at home.• n. (usu. the best) that which is the most excellent, outstanding, or desirable: buy the best you can afford Sarah always had to be the best at everything. ∎  the most meritorious aspect of a thing or person: he brought out the best in people. ∎  (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. ∎  (one's best) one's finest or most formal clothes: she dressed in her best. ∎  (in sports) a record of a specified kind, esp. a personal one: a personal best.• v. [tr.] inf. outwit or get the better of (someone): she refused to allow herself to be bested.PHRASES: all the best said or written to wish a person well on ending a letter or best one can (or may) as effectively as possible under the circumstances: I went about my job as best I best taking the most optimistic or favorable view: signs of recovery are patchy at for (or all for) the best be desirable in the end, although not at first seeming so.the best of friends very good friends.the best of three (or five, etc.) victory achieved by winning the majority of a specified (usually odd) number of games.the best part of most of: it took them the best part of 10 wishes an expression of hope for someone's future happiness or welfare: we sent our best wishes for a speedy recovery. ∎  written at the end of a letter: Best wishes,'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 (or try) one's best do all one can: Ruth did her best to reassure her.get the best of overcome (someone): his drinking got the best of him and he was fired.had best do something find it most sensible or well advised to do the thing mentioned: I'd best be going.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. ∎  use (resources) as well as possible: he tried to make the best of his the best of one's ability (or knowledge) as far as one can do or know: the text is free of factual errors, to the best of my knowledge.with the best of them as well or as much as anyone: he'll be out there dancing with the best of them.


views updated May 21 2018

best all's for the best in the best of all possible worlds an optimistic assessment of the general state of affairs, recorded from the early 20th century, which translates the French Tout est pour le mieux dans le meilleur des mondes possibles. This observation is regularly made, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, by the philosophical optimist Dr Pangloss, in Voltaire's Candide (1759).
best bib and tucker best clothes. Originally used of items of women's dress: a bib is a garment worn over the upper front part of the body (as in the bib of an apron), and a tucker was a piece of lace formerly used to adorn a woman's bodice.
the best club in London traditional name for the House of Commons.
the best is the enemy of the good a vision of the ideal may prevent good and acceptable work being actually achieved. The saying is also found in the form the good of Chancery, and is recorded from the mid 19th century.
the best-laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley the most carefully laid plans may go awry. Originally from Robert Burns's poem ‘To a Mouse’ (1786), and often used allusively in the shortened form ‘the best-laid schemes’.
the best of friends must part even the closest friendship is not proof against (temporary) separation; recorded from the early 17th century, and often used as consolation when parting. A similar idea is found earlier in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde, ‘Alwey frendes may natr ben yfeere [may not be together].’
the best of men are but men at best even the most heroic or virtuous person is still subject to the usual human frailties. The saying is first attributed (in the 17th century, by John Aubrey) to the Parliamentarian commander John Lambert, who played an important role in Cromwell's military successes over the Royalists in the English Civil War.
the best things come in small packages often used as encouragement to a short or slight person. Recorded from the late 19th century, but a French saying of the 13th century runs, ‘small packages considered together are beautiful.’
the best things in life are free the things which most affect the true quality of life, such as love and friendship or the beauties of the natural world, are not commodities available for purchase. This saying is first recorded in the early 20th century as the title of a song, by Buddy De Sylva and Lew Brown.
it is best to be on the safe side it is always wise to take precautions; saying recorded from the mid 17th century.

See also east, west, home's best, first thoughts are best, hope for the best, he laughs best who laughs last, the best of both worlds.


views updated May 11 2018

best (adj. and adv.) OE. bet(e)st, best = (as adj.) OS. (Du.) best, OHG. bezzisto (wk.; G. best), ON. beztr, Goth. batists :- Gmc. *batistaz, superl. of *bat-; see BETTER, -EST.
Hence best vb. XIX; cf. worst (XVII).


views updated May 18 2018

BEST (bɛst) British Expertise in Science and Technology (database)