adj. great·er, great·est
a. Very large in size, extent, or intensity: a great pile of rubble; a great storm.
b. Of a larger size than other, similar forms: the great anteater.
c. Large in quantity or number: A great throng awaited us. See Synonyms at large.
d. Extensive in time or distance: a great delay; a great way off.
a. Remarkable or outstanding in magnitude, degree, or extent: a great crisis; great anticipation.
b. Of outstanding significance or importance: a great work of art.
c. Chief or principal: the great house on the estate.
d. Superior in quality or character; noble: a great man who dedicated himself to helping others.
e. Powerful; influential: one of the great nations of the West.
f. Eminent; distinguished: a great leader.
a. Very good; first-rate: We had a great time at the dance.
b. Very skillful: She is great at algebra.
c. Enthusiastic: a great lover of music.
4. Being one generation removed from the relative specified. Often used in combination: a great-granddaughter.
5. Archaic Pregnant.
1. pl. greats or great One that is great: a composer considered among the greats.
a. A division of most pipe organs, usually containing the most powerful ranks of pipes.
b. A similar division of other organs.
1. Very well: got along great with the teacher.
2. Used as an intensive with certain adjectives: a great big kiss.
[Middle English grete, from Old English grēat, thick, coarse.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.