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(1)   Marked by active interest and enthusiasm
"An avid sports fan"
"A great walker"
"An eager beaver"
(2)   Very good
"He did a bully job"
"A neat sports car"
"Had a great time at the party"
"You look simply smashing"
(3)   Of major significance or importance
"A great work of art"
"Einstein was one of the outstanding figures of the 20th centurey"
(4)   Relatively large in size or number or extent; larger than others of its kind
"A great juicy steak"
"A great multitude"
"The great auk"
"A great old oak"
"A great ocean liner"
"A great delay"
(5)   Uppercase
"Capital A"
"Great A"
"Many medieval manuscripts are in majuscule script"
(6)   Remarkable or out of the ordinary in degree or magnitude or effect
"A great crisis"
"Had a great stake in the outcome"


(7)   A person who has achieved distinction and honor in some field
"He is one of the greats of American music"


  1. Very big, large scale.
    A great storm is approaching our shores.
  2. Very good.
    Dinner was great.
  3. Important.
  4. Title referring to an important leader.
    Alexander the Great

Usage notes

In simple situations, using modifiers of intensity such as
fairly, somewhat, etc. can lead to an awkward construction, with the exception of certain common expressions such as “so great” and “really great”. In particular “very great” is unusually strong as a reaction, and in many cases “great” or its meaning of “very good” will suffice.


  1. Expression of gladness and content about something.
    Great! Thanks for the wonderful work.
  2. sarcastic inversion thereof.
    Oh, great! I just dumped all 500 sheets of the manuscript all over and now I have to put them back in order.


  1. A person of major significance, accomplishment or acclaim.
    Newton and Einstein are two of the greats of the history of science.