Definition of high adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//haɪ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//haɪ//
    (higher, highest)
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  1. 1  measuring a long distance from the bottom to the top What's the highest mountain in the US? The house has a high wall all the way round it. shoes with high heels He has a round face with a high forehead. opposite low
  2. 2  used to talk about the distance that something measures from the bottom to the top How high is Everest? It's only a low wall—about a metre high. The grass was waist-high. knee-high boots
  3. far above ground
  4. 3  at a level which is a long way above the ground or above the level of the sea a high branch/shelf/window The rooms had high ceilings. streaks of high cloud They were flying at high altitude. the grasslands of the high prairies Which Word?high / tall High is used to talk about the measurement from the bottom to the top of something:The fence is over five metres high. He has climbed some of the world’s highest mountains. You also use high to describe the distance of something from the ground:How high was the plane when the engine failed? Tall is used instead of high to talk about people:My brother’s much taller than me.Tall is also used for things that are high and narrow such as trees:She ordered cold beer in a tall glass. tall factory chimneys. Buildings can be high or tall.
  5. opposite low
    greater than normal
  6. 4  greater or better than normal in quantity or quality, size or degree a high temperature/speed/price a high rate of inflation Demand is high at this time of year. a high level of pollution a high standard of craftsmanship high-quality goods a high risk of injury A high degree of accuracy is needed. The tree blew over in the high winds. We had high hopes for the business (= we believed it would be successful). A high proportion of our staff are female. The cost in terms of human life was high. compare low
  7. containing a lot
  8. 5  high (in something) containing a lot of a particular substance opposite low foods which are high in fat a high potassium content a high-fat diet
  9. rank/status
  10. 6(usually before noun) near the top in rank or status She has held high office under three prime ministers. He has friends in high places (= among people of power and influence). opposite low
  11. valuable
  12. 7of great value to play for high stakes My highest card is ten.
  13. ideals/principles
  14. 8(usually before noun) morally good a man of high ideals/principles
  15. approving
  16. 9(usually before noun) showing a lot of approval or respect for somebody She is held in very high regard by her colleagues. You seem to have a high opinion of yourself! opposite low
  17. sound
  18. 10at the upper end of the range of sounds that humans can hear; not deep or low She has a high voice. That note is definitely too high for me. opposite low
  19. of period of time
  20. 11[only before noun] used to describe the middle or the most attractive part of a period of time high noon high summer
  21. food
  22. 12(of meat, cheese, etc.) beginning to go bad and having a strong smell
  23. on alcohol/drugs
  24. 13[not before noun] high (on something) (informal) behaving in an excited way because of the effects of alcohol or drugs
  25. phonetics
  26. 14 (phonetics) = close2
  27. Word OriginOld English hēah, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch hoog and German hoch.Word Familyhigh adjective noun adverbhighly adverbheight nounheighten verbExtra examples He was high on drugs. Oranges are high in vitamin C. There is an extremely high drop-out rate. There was a light quite high up. They’re trying to keep prices high. Unemployment remained high for several years. Vets have a relatively high suicide rate. Your voice sounds very high on the telephone. a fairly high pitch some fairly high mountains the temptation to get high on drugs A high proportion of our staff is female. Demand is high at this time of the year. He has friends in high places. Her shoes were black, with high heels. High council taxes have forced several local businesses to relocate. I can’t reach the top shelf—it’s too high. It’s only a low wall—about a metre high. The case was referred to a higher court. The house has a high wall all the way around it. The only windows in the hall were narrow and high. They charge very high prices for a pretty average service. We had high hopes for the business. What’s the highest mountain in the US? a high court/​magistrate/​commissioner/​priest high status/​rank/​position/​officeIdioms
    be/get on your high horse
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    (informal) to behave in a way that shows you think you are better than other people
    (old-fashioned, informal) to enjoy yourself very much
    (come) hell or high water
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    despite any difficulties I was determined to go, come hell or high water.
    1. 1(of a boat, etc.) in a position out of the water Their yacht was left high and dry on a sandbank.
    2. 2in a difficult situation, without help or money More Like This Rhyming pairs in idioms doom and gloom, fair and square, high and dry, huff and puff, name and shame, slice and dice, thrills and spills, wear and tear, wheel and deal, wine and dineSee worksheet.
    (informal) behaving as though you think you are more important than other people (informal) behaving in a very excited way, especially because of being strongly affected by alcohol or drugs See related entries: Excitement the amount of attention somebody/something has from the public This issue has had a high profile in recent months. I advised her to keep a low profile for the next few days (= not to attract attention). (old-fashioned, formal) in an angry or offended mood, and showing other people that you are angry He stomped out of the room in high dudgeon. She stormed out in high dudgeon.  (informal) used to say that you think somebody should do something soon It's about time you cleaned your room!
    of a high order, of the highest/first order
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    of a high quality or degree; of the highest quality or greatest degree The job requires diplomatic skills of a high order. She was a snob of the first order.
      smell, stink, etc. to high heaven (informal)
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    1. 1to have a strong unpleasant smell
    2. 2to seem to be very dishonest or morally unacceptable
    take, claim, seize, etc. the moral high ground
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    to claim that your side of an argument is morally better than your opponents’ side; to argue in a way that makes your side seem morally better
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: high