WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2020
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 © 2020
- unusually or comparatively large in size, dimensions, or number;
numerous:great herds of buffalo.
- unusual or considerable in degree, power, or intensity:great pain.
excellent:to have a great time.
remarkable:[before a noun]a great occasion.
consequential:[before a noun]the great issues in American history.
famous:[before a noun]a great inventor.
- of noble character:[before a noun]great thoughts.
- of high rank or social standing:[before a noun]a great lady.
- having unusual merit;
very admirable:a great statesman.
- of great or unusual length:[before a noun]to wait a great while.
- Informal Terms
- [be + ~ + on/for] enthusiastic about some specified activity:She's a great one for talking.
- [be + ~ + at] skillful;
expert:She's great at golf.
- being of one generation older or younger than the family relative specified (used in combination):[before a noun]a great-grandson.
- Informal Termsvery well:Things are going great.
- very:a great big hole.
- a person who has achieved distinction in a field:[countable]one of the theater's greats.
- This word is used as part of the title of a king or ruler who is or was considered very important:[part of a title; the + ~]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 (grāt),USA pronunciation 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.
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.
- Informal Terms
- enthusiastic about some specified activity (usually fol. by at, for, or on):He's great on reading poetry aloud.
expert (usually fol. by at or on):He's great at golf.
- 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 Termsvery 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.
- Informal Terms(often cap.) greats, (used with a sing. v.) Also called great go. [Brit. Informal.]
- the final examination for the bachelor's degree in the classics and mathematics, or Literae Humaniores, esp. at Oxford University and usually for honors.
- the course of study.
- the subject studied.
- (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.
- bef. 900; Middle English greet, Old English grēat; cognate with Dutch groot, German gross
- 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged immense, enormous, gigantic, huge, vast, grand. 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;
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;
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.See corresponding entry in Unabridged noteworthy.
- 7.See corresponding entry in Unabridged weighty, serious, momentous, vital, critical.
- 8.See corresponding entry in Unabridged famed, eminent, noted, notable, prominent, renowned.
- 9.See corresponding entry in Unabridged elevated, exalted, dignified.
- 10.See corresponding entry in Unabridged main, grand, leading.
- 1.See corresponding entry in Unabridged small.
- 6.See corresponding entry in Unabridged –8, 10, 11, 14. insignificant.
'greatness' also found in these entries: