American English

Definition of great adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (greater, greatest)
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  1. 1much more than average in degree or quantity a matter of great importance The concert had been a great success. Her death was a great shock to us all. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you here today. Take great care of it. You've been a great help. We are all to a great extent the products of our culture.
  2. 2[usually before noun] very large; much bigger than average in size or quantity A great crowd had gathered. People were arriving in great numbers. The great majority of (= most) people seem to agree with this view. He must have fallen from a great height. A great many people died in the attack.
  3. 3[only before noun] (informal) used to emphasize an adjective of size or quality There was a great big pile of books on the table. Which Word?big / large / greatThese adjectives are frequently used with the following nouns:
    big ~large ~great ~
    Large is more formal than big and should be used in writing unless it is in an informal style. It is not usually used to describe people, except to avoid saying “fat.” Great often suggests quality and not just size. Note also the phrases:a large amount of a large number of a large quantity of a great deal of in great detail a person of great age.
  4. admired
  5. 4extremely good in ability or quality and therefore admired by many people He has been described as the world's greatest violinist. Sherlock Holmes, the great detective Great art has the power to change lives. This represents a great achievement.
  6. good
  7. 5(informal) very good or pleasant He's a great guy. It's great to see you again. What a great goal! We had a great time in Miami. “I'll pick you up at seven.” “That would be great, thanks.” “Tom's coming too.” “Great!” (ironic) Oh great, they left without us. synonyms at fun
  8. skilled
  9. 6[not usually before noun] great at (doing) something (informal) able to do something well She's great at chess.
  10. useful
  11. 7great for (doing) something (informal) very suitable or useful for something This gadget is great for opening jars. Try this cream—it's great for dry skin.
  12. important/impressive
  13. 8[only before noun] important and impressive The wedding was a great occasion. As the great day approached, she grew more and more nervous. One great advantage of this metal is that it doesn't rust.
  14. with influence
  15. 9having high status or a lot of influence the great powers (= important and powerful countries) We can make this country great again. Alexander the Great
  16. in good health
  17. 10in a very good state of physical or mental health She seemed to be in great spirits (= very cheerful). Ifeel great today. I don't feel too great. Everyone's in great form.
  18. for emphasis
  19. 11[only before noun] used when you are emphasizing a particular description of someone/something We are great friends. I've never been a great reader (= I do not read much). She's a great talker, isn't she? I am a great admirer of your work.
  20. family
  21. 12great- added to words for family members to show a further stage in relationship my great-aunt (= my father's or mother's aunt) her great-grandson (= the grandson of her son or daughter) my great-great-grandfather (= the grandfather of my grandfather)
  22. larger animals/plants
  23. 13[only before noun] used in the names of animals or plants which are larger than similar kinds a Great Dane
  24. city name
  25. 14Greater used with the name of a city to describe an area that includes the center of the city and a large area all around it Greater Chicago
    noun [uncountable]
  27. Thesaurusgreatcool fantastic fabulous terrific awesomeThese are all informal words that describe someone or something that is very good, pleasant, enjoyable, etc.great (informal) very good; giving a lot of pleasure:We had a great time in (informal) used to show that you admire or approve of something, often because it is fashionable, attractive, or different:I think their new song's really cool.fantastic (informal) extremely good; giving a lot of pleasure:I had a fantastic vacation in Mexico.fabulous (informal) extremely good:Jane's a fabulous cook.(Fabulous is slightly more old-fashioned than the other words in this set.)terrific (informal) extremely good; wonderful:She's doing a terrific job.awesome (informal) very good, impressive, or enjoyable:The show was just awesome.Patterns to have a(n) great/fantastic/fabulous/terrific/awesome time to look/sound great/cool/fantastic/fabulous/terrific/awesome really great/cool/fantastic/fabulous/terrific/awesome absolutely great/fantastic/fabulous/terrific/awesome
    be going great guns (informal)
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    to be doing something quickly and successfully Work is going great guns now.
    be greater/more than the sum of its parts
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    to be better or more effective as a group than you would think just by looking at the individual members of the group
    be a great one for (doing) something
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    to do something a lot; to enjoy something I've never been a great one for writing letters.
    be no great shakes (informal)
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    to be not very good, efficient, suitable, etc.
    great and small
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    of all sizes or types all creatures great and small
    the great …in the sky (humorous)
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    used to refer to where a particular person or thing is imagined to go when they die or are no longer working, similar to the place they were connected with on earth Their pet rabbit had gone to the great rabbit hutch in the sky.
    great minds think alike (informal) (humorous)
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    used to say that you and another person must both be very smart because you have had the same idea or agree about something
    great/tall oaks from little acorns grow (saying)
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    something large and successful often begins in a very small way
    take (great) pains (to do something), go to great pains (to do something)
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    to put a lot of effort into doing something The couple went to great pains to keep their plans secret.
    take (great) pains with/over something
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    to do something very carefully He always takes great pains with his lectures.
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: great