great Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “great” in the English Dictionary

"great" in British English

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greatadjective

uk   us   /ɡreɪt/
  • great adjective (BIG)

A2 large in ​amount, ​size, or ​degree: an ​enormous great ​hole The ​issue is of great ​importance to ​voters. The ​improvement in ​waterstandards over the last 50 ​years has been very great. A great many ​people would ​agree. The greatmajority of (= ​almost all)people would ​agree.formal It gives us great pleasure to ​announce the ​engagement of ​ourdaughter Maria.formal It is with great sorrow that I ​inform you of the ​death of ​ourdirector. I have great sympathy for you. I ​spent a great deal oftime there. [before noun] used in ​names, ​especially to ​meanlarge or ​important: a Great Dane (= ​largetype of ​dog) Catherine the Great the Great Wall of ​China the Great Bear (= ​group of ​stars)greater than specialized larger in ​number or ​amount than: X must be ​equal to or greater than 10.

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  • great adjective (FAMOUS)

B2 approving famous, ​powerful, or ​important as one of a ​particulartype: a great ​politician/​leader/​artist/man/woman This is one of Rembrandt's greatest ​paintings. Who do you ​think is the greatest ​modernnovelist?

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  • great adjective (EXTREME)

B1 extreme: great ​success/​difficulty

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  • great adjective (GOOD)

A1 informal very good: a great ​idea We had a great ​time last ​night at the ​party. It's great tosee you after all this ​time! "I'll ​lend you the ​car if you like." "Great! Thanks a lot!" "What's ​your new ​teacher like?" "Oh, he's great." "How are you ​feeling now?" "Great." informal used to ​mean that something is very ​bad: Oh great ! That's all I need - more ​bills!

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greatness
noun [U] uk   us   /ˈɡreɪt.nəs/
B2 skill and ​importance: Her greatness as a ​writer is ​unquestioned.

greatadverb [before noun], adjective

uk   us   /ɡreɪt/ informal
B2 used to ​emphasize the ​meaning of another word: a great ​bigspider a great ​longqueue You great ​idiot! Pat's a great ​friend of mine.

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greatnoun [C]

uk   us   /ɡreɪt/

great-prefix

uk   us   /ɡreɪt-/
used with a word for a ​familymember to ​mean one ​generation away from that ​member: your great-grandmother (= the ​grandmother of one of ​yourparents) your great-grandson (= the ​grandson of ​yourchild)

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  • This is ​your great-uncle George. He's Daddy's ​uncle.
  • I have seven ​grandchildren, and ​lots of great-nephews and -​nieces.
  • Adelia was my great-aunt and a very ​grandoldlady.
  • He is the great-great-grandson of Sigmund Freud.
  • We ​found the ​graves of my great-great-grandfather and his first and second ​wives.
(Definition of great from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"great" in American English

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greatadjective [-er/-est only]

 us   /ɡreɪt/
large or ​unusuallylarge in ​amount or ​degree: the Great Lakes He went on to great ​success as an ​actor. There was a great ​deal of (= a lot of)excitement in the ​classroom before ​lunch.
important, ​powerful, or ​famous: a great ​president a great ​athlete
infml very good or very ​effective; ​excellent: We had a great ​time. She has a great ​voice. This ​stuff is great for ​cleaningwindows.
greatness
noun [U]  us   /ˈɡreɪt·nəs/
Her greatness as a ​writer is beyond ​question.

greatnoun [C]

 us   /ɡreɪt/
  • great noun [C] (IMPORTANT PERSON)

a ​famousperson in a ​particulararea of ​activity: This ​sportsfacility is named after the ​tennis great Arthur Ashe.

great-prefix

 us   /ˌɡreɪt/
  • great- prefix (FAMILIES)

used with a word for a ​familymember, such as ​grandmother, to ​mean one ​generationolder than that ​familymember: great-grandmother
(Definition of great from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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