1 /best/ adjective (superlative of good)
1 better than anything else or anyone else in quality, skill, effectiveness etc: He was the best teacher in the school. | What's the best way to cook this fish? | The best thing to do is to stop worrying. | easily the best/by far the best (=much better than anything else): I've read all her books but `Middlemarch' is easily the best. | it's best to: It's best to clean the wall before you paint it
2 best dress/shoes/clothes etc clothing that you keep for special occasions: You ought to wear your best shirt.
3 best friend the friend that you know and like better than anyone else
4 the next best thing something that is not exactly what you want but is as similar to it as possible: The next best thing to being with her was to phone and talk.
5 best of all used to introduce the one fact about a situation that is even better than the other good things: Yeah, my dad's getting a new car - and best of all, he's going to give me the old one!
-see also: be on your best behaviour behaviour (2), your best bet bet 2 (3), the best/better part of part 1 (6) 2 adverb (superlative of well)
1 in a way that is better than any other; most well: It works best if you let it warm up first. | The glacier can best be viewed from above. | the best-dressed man in Paris
2 to the greatest degree; most: You know him best - you should ask him. | Which did you like best, the music or the dancing? | one of our best-loved old cathedrals
3 for reasons best known to herself/himself used to say that you cannot understand why someone has done something: For reasons best known to herself, she arrived dressed in a gorilla suit!
4 as best you can spoken as well as you can, even if this is not very good: I'll translate it as best I can, but my German is very rusty.
5 had best spoken ought to: You'd best stay at home till you get over that cold.
3 noun
1 a) the best, most helpful, most successful etc situation or results that you can achieve: We all want the best for our children. | It's the best we can do in the circumstances.
b) the person or thing that is better than any other: She's the best of the new young writers.
2 do your best to try as hard as you can to do something: As long as you do your best we'll be happy. | do your best to do sth: We'll do our best to finish it on time.
3 at best used to emphasize that something is not very good, pleasant, honest, etc even if you consider it in the best possible way: The city was at best an ordinary sort of place. | His answers were at best evasive, at worst very misleading.
4 to the best of your knowledge/belief/ability used to say that something is as much as you know, believe, or are able to do: I'm sure he'll do the work to the best of his ability.
5 the best of both worlds a situation in which you have the advantages of two different things without any of the disadvantages: They live in a village but it's only an hour from London so they have the best of both worlds.
6 at your best performing as well or effectively as you are able to: At her best, she's a really stylish player. | He was never at his best early in the morning.
7 make the best of sth/make the best of a bad job to accept an unsatisfactory situation, and do whatever you can to make it less bad: We are stuck here so we might as well make the best of it.
8 the best of a bad lot the least bad person or thing in a group of not very good people or things
9 all the best used to express good wishes to someone for the future: All the best for the New Year!
10 Sunday best old-fashioned your best clothes, which you only wear on special occasions
11 be for the best especially spoken used to say that a particular event may not be as bad as it seems: I still don't want him to go but maybe it's for the best.
12 at the best of times if something is not very good, pleasant etc at the best of times, it is usually even worse than this: It's not a very exciting town at the best of times.
4 verb (T) old use to defeat someone

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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