Meaning of “great” in the English Dictionary

"great" in English

See all translations


uk /ɡreɪt/ 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 water standards over the last 50 years has been very great.
A great many people would agree.
The great majority of (= almost all) people would agree.
formal It gives us great pleasure to announce the engagement of our daughter Maria.
formal It is with great sorrow that I inform you of the death of our director.
I have great sympathy for you.
I spent a great deal of time there.

[ before noun ] used in names, especially to mean large or important:

a Great Dane (= large type 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.

More examples

great adjective (FAMOUS)

B2 approving famous, powerful, or important as one of a particular type:

a great politician/leader/artist/man/woman
This is one of Rembrandt's greatest paintings.
Who do you think is the greatest modern novelist?

More examples

great adjective (EXTREME)

More examples

great adjective (GOOD)

A1 informal very good:

a great idea
We had a great time last night at the party.
It's great to see 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!

More examples

noun [ U ] uk /ˈɡreɪt.nəs/ us /ˈɡreɪt.nəs/

B2 skill and importance:

Her greatness as a writer is unquestioned.

greatadverb [ before noun ], adjective

uk /ɡreɪt/ us /ɡreɪt/ informal

B2 used to emphasize the meaning of another word:

a great big spider
a great long queue
You great idiot!
Pat's a great friend of mine.

More examples

greatnoun [ C ]

uk /ɡreɪt/ us /ɡreɪt/


uk /ɡreɪt-/ us /ɡreɪt-/

used with a word for a family member to mean one generation away from that member:

your great-grandmother (= the grandmother of one of your parents)
your great-grandson (= the grandson of your child)

More examples

(Definition of “great” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"great" in American English

See all translations

greatadjective [ -er/-est only ]

us /ɡreɪt/

great adjective [ -er/-est only ] (LARGE)

large or unusually large 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.

great adjective [ -er/-est only ] (IMPORTANT)

important, powerful, or famous:

a great president
a great athlete

great adjective [ -er/-est only ] (GOOD)

infml very good or very effective; excellent:

We had a great time.
She has a great voice.
This stuff is great for cleaning windows.
noun [ U ] us /ˈɡreɪt·nəs/

Her greatness as a writer is beyond question.

greatnoun [ C ]

us /ɡreɪt/

great noun [ C ] (IMPORTANT PERSON)

a famous person in a particular area of activity:

This sports facility is named after the tennis great Arthur Ashe.


us /ˌɡreɪt/

great- prefix (FAMILIES)

used with a word for a family member, such as grandmother, to mean one generation older than that family member:


(Definition of “great” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)