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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
great /greɪt/USA pronunciation
adj., -er, -est, adv., n., pl. greats, (esp. when thought of as a group )great, interj. WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2015
unusually or comparatively large in size, dimensions, or number;
numerous:great herds of buffalo.
unusual or considerable in degree, power, or intensity:great pain.
first-rate; excellent:to have a great time.
[before a noun] notable; remarkable:a great occasion.
[before a noun] important;
consequential:the great issues in American history.
[before a noun] distinguished; famous:a great inventor.
[before a noun] of noble character:great thoughts.
[before a noun] of high rank or social standing:a great lady.
having unusual merit; very admirable:a great statesman.
[before a noun] of great or unusual length:to wait a great while.
- [be + ~ + on/for] enthusiastic about some specified activity:She's a great one for talking.
[before a noun] being of one generation older or younger than the family relative specified (used in combination):a great-grandson.
Informal Terms[Informal.]very well:Things are going great.
very:a great big hole.
[countable] a person who has achieved distinction in a field:one of the theater's greats.
[part of a title; the + ~] This word is used as part of the title of a king or ruler who is or was considered very important:Alexander the Great.
This word is used to express acceptance, appreciation, approval, admiration, etc.:You won the award? Great!
This word is used ironically to express disappointment, annoyance, distress, etc.:Oh, great. Another visit from the in-laws.
great•ness, n. [uncountable]
- [be + ~ + at] skillful; expert:She's great at golf.
(grāt), adj., -er, -est, adv., n., pl. greats, ([esp. collectively])great, interj.
unusually or comparatively large in size or dimensions:A great fire destroyed nearly half the city.
large in number; numerous:Great hordes of tourists descend on Europe each summer.
unusual or considerable in degree, power, intensity, etc.:great pain.
very good:We had a great time. That's great!
being such in an extreme or notable degree:great friends; a great talker.
exceptionally outstanding:a great occasion.
important; highly significant or consequential:the great issues in American history.
famous:a great inventor.
of noble or lofty character:great thoughts.
chief or principal:the great hall; his greatest novel.
of high rank, official position, or social standing:a great noble.
much in use or favor:"Humor'' was a great word with the old physiologists.
of extraordinary powers; having unusual merit;
very admirable:a great statesman.
of considerable duration or length:We waited a great while for the train.
- enthusiastic about some specified activity (usually fol. by at, for, or on):He's great on reading poetry aloud.
being of one generation more remote from the family relative specified (used in combination):a great-grandson.
Idiomsgreat with child, being in the late stages of pregnancy.
Informal Terms[Informal.]very well:Things have been going great for him.
a person who has achieved importance or distinction in a field:She is one of the theater's greats.
great persons, collectively:England's literary great.
(often cap.)greats, (used with a sing. v.) Also called great go. [Brit. Informal.]
- skillful; expert (usually fol. by at or on):He's great at golf.
(used to express acceptance, appreciation, approval, admiration, etc.).
(used ironically or facetiously to express disappointment, annoyance, distress, etc.):Great! We just missed the last train home.
- the final examination for the bachelor's degree in the classics and mathematics, or Literae Humaniores, esp. at Oxford University and usually for honors.
Etymology:bef. 900; Middle English greet, Old English grēat;
Great, big, large refer to size, extent, and degree. In reference to the size and extent of concrete objects, big is the most general and most colloquial word, large is somewhat more formal, and great is highly formal and even poetic, suggesting also that the object is notable or imposing:a big tree;
cognate with Dutch groot, German gross
a large tree;
a great oak;
a big field;
a large field;
great plains.When the reference is to degree or a quality, great is the usual word:great beauty; great mistake;
although big sometimes alternates with it in colloquial style:a big mistake; a big surprise;
large is not used in reference to degree, but may be used in a quantitative reference:a large number(great number).6 . noteworthy.7 . weighty, serious, momentous, vital, critical.8 . famed, eminent, noted, notable, prominent, renowned.9 . elevated, exalted, dignified.10 . main, grand, leading.
ant'> 1 .
–8, 10, 11, 14. insignificant.
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
great /ɡreɪt/ adj
- relatively large in size or extent; big
- relatively large in number; having many parts or members: a great assembly
- of relatively long duration: a great wait
- of larger size or more importance than others of its kind: the great auk
- extreme or more than usual: great worry
- of significant importance or consequence: a great decision
- of exceptional talents or achievements; remarkable: a great writer
- (as noun): the great, one of the greats
- arising from or possessing idealism in thought, action, etc; heroic: great deeds
- illustrious or eminent: a great history
- impressive or striking: a great show of wealth
- active or enthusiastic: a great walker
- doing or exemplifying (a characteristic or pursuit) on a large scale: what a great buffoon, he's not a great one for reading
- (often followed by at) skilful or adroit: a great carpenter, you are great at singing
- informal excellent; fantastic
Etymology: Old English grēat; related to Old Frisian grāt, Old High German grōz; see grit, groatˈgreatly adv ˈgreatness n
Also called: great organ the principal manual on an organ