WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2020
most /moʊst/USA pronunciation
adj., [superlative of] much or many with more as comparative.WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2020
[before a noun]
- in the greatest number, amount, or degree: [before a plural noun]:[the + ~]He received the most votes.[before a uncountable noun]:She has the most talent.
- in the majority of instances;
more than half:[before a plural noun]Most operations are successful.
adv., [superl. of much withmore as compar.]
- the greatest quantity, amount, or degree:[the + ~]The most I can hope for is a passing grade.
- the greatest number or greater part of what is specified:[~ + of]Most of his writing is rubbish.
- the greatest number:[the + ~]The most this room will seat is 150.
- the majority of persons:to be happier than most.
- Slang Termsthe most, the very best of something:thought her boyfriend was the most.
- in or to the greatest extent or degree:[often used before adjectives and adverbs, and regularly before those of more than two syllables]most rapid; She behaved most wisely;He worked most carefully.
- very:This murder is a most puzzling case.
- [Informal.]almost or nearly:Most everyone around here shops at this place.
- Idiomsat (the) most, at the maximum:Jog for one hour at (the) most.
- Idiomsfor the most part, on the whole;
usually:For the most part we walked, but occasionally we biked.
- Idiomsmake the most of, [~ + object] to use to greatest advantage:Make the most of your opportunities.
(mōst),USA pronunciation adj., [superl. of much or many with more as compar.]
- in the greatest quantity, amount, measure, degree, or number:to win the most votes.
- in the majority of instances:Most operations are successful.
- greatest, as in size or extent:the most talent.
- Idiomsfor the most part. See part (def. 18).
adv., [superl. of much with more as compar.]
- the greatest quantity, amount, or degree;
the utmost:The most I can hope for is a passing grade.
- the greatest number or the majority of a class specified:Most of his writing is rubbish.
- the greatest number:The most this room will seat is 150.
- the majority of persons:to be more sensitive than most.
- Idiomsat the most, at the maximum. Also, at most.
- Idiomsmake the most of, to use to greatest advantage;
utilize fully:to make the most of an opportunity.
- Slang Termsthe most, the ultimate in something:He's the most. That movie was the most.
- in or to the greatest extent or degree (in this sense often used before adjectives and adverbs, and regularly before those of more than two syllables, to form superlative phrases having the same force and effect as the superlative degree formed by the termination -est):most rapid; most wisely.
- very:a most puzzling case.
- Informal Termsalmost or nearly.
- bef. 900; Middle English most(e), Old English māst; replacing Middle English mest(e), Old English mǣst; cognate with German meist, Gothic maists. See more
- 14.See corresponding entry in Unabridged See almost.
14. The adverb most, a shortened form of almost, is far from being either a recent development or an Americanism. It goes back to the 16th century in England, where it is now principally a dialect form. In American English it occurs before such pronouns as all, anyone, anybody, everyone, and everybody;
a combining form of most occurring in a series of superlatives:foremost; utmost.
the adjectives all, any, and every;
and adverbs like anywhere and everywhere: Most everyone around here is related to everyone else. You can find that plant most anywhere. This use of most is often objected to, but it is common in the informal speech of educated persons. It is less common in edited writing except in representations of speech.
- Middle English -most; replacing Middle English, Old English -mest, double superlative suffix, equivalent. to -ma superlative suffix (as in Old English forma first; compare Latin prīmus) + -est1; later identified with most
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
most /məʊst/ determiner
- a great majority of; nearly all: most people like eggs
- (as pronoun; functioning as sing or plural): most of them don't know, most of it is finished
- the most ⇒
the superlative of many, much: you have the most money, the most apples
- (as pronoun): the most he can afford is two pounds
- at most, at the most ⇒ at the maximum: that girl is four at the most
- make the most of ⇒ to use to the best advantage: she makes the most of her accent
Etymology: Old English māst or mǣst, whence Middle English moste, mēst; compare Old Frisian maest, Old High German meist, Old Norse mestrUSAGE
- the most ⇒ used to form the superlative of some adjectives and adverbs
- the superlative of much: people welcome a drink most after work
- (intensifier): a most absurd story
More and most should be distinguished when used in comparisons. More applies to cases involving two persons, objects, etc, most to cases involving three or more
'at most' also found in these entries (note: many are not synonyms or translations):