at the most

most

[mohst]
adjective superl. of much or many with more as compar.
1.
in the greatest quantity, amount, measure, degree, or number: to win the most votes.
2.
in the majority of instances: Most operations are successful.
3.
greatest, as in size or extent: the most talent.
noun
4.
the greatest quantity, amount, or degree; the utmost: The most I can hope for is a passing grade.
5.
the greatest number or the majority of a class specified: Most of his writing is rubbish.
6.
the greatest number: The most this room will seat is 150.
7.
the majority of persons: to be more sensitive than most.
8.
the most, Slang. the ultimate in something: He's the most. That movie was the most.
adverb superl. of much with more as compar.
9.
in or to the greatest extent or degree (in this sense often used before adjectives and adverbs, and regularly before those of more than two syllables, to form superlative phrases having the same force and effect as the superlative degree formed by the termination -est ): most rapid; most wisely.
10.
very: a most puzzling case.
11.
Informal. almost or nearly.
Idioms
12.
at the most, at the maximum. Also, at most.
13.
for the most part. part ( def 34 ).
14.
make the most of, to use to greatest advantage; utilize fully: to make the most of an opportunity.

Origin:
before 900; Middle English most(e), Old English māst; replacing Middle English mest(e), Old English mǣst; cognate with German meist, Gothic maists. See more

almost, most.


11. See almost.


11. The adverb most, a shortened form of almost, is far from being either a recent development or an Americanism. It goes back to the 16th century in England, where it is now principally a dialect form. In American English it occurs before such pronouns as all, anyone, anybody, everyone, and everybody; the adjectives all, any, and every; and adverbs like anywhere and everywhere: Most everyone around here is related to everyone else. You can find that plant most anywhere. This use of most is often objected to, but it is common in the informal speech of educated persons. It is less common in edited writing except in representations of speech.
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Collins
World English Dictionary
most (məʊst)
 
determiner
1.  a.  a great majority of; nearly all: most people like eggs
 b.  (as pronoun; functioning as sing or plural): most of them don't know; most of it is finished
2.  the most
 a.  many the superlative of much : you have the most money; the most apples
 b.  (as pronoun): the most he can afford is two pounds
3.  at most, at the most at the maximum: that girl is four at the most
4.  for the most part generally
5.  make the most of to use to the best advantage: she makes the most of her accent
6.  than most than most others: the leaves are greener than most
7.  slang chiefly (US) the most wonderful: that chick's the most
 
adv
8.  the most used to form the superlative of some adjectives and adverbs: the most beautiful daughter of all
9.  the superlative of much : people welcome a drink most after work
10.  (intensifier): a most absurd story
11.  informal, dialect or (US), (Canadian) almost: most every town in this state; John is the more intelligent of the two; he is the most intelligent of the students
 
usage  More and most should be distinguished when used in comparisons. More applies to cases involving two persons, objects, etc, most to cases involving three or more

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

most
O.E. mast "greatest number, amount, extent," earlier mæst, from P.Gmc. *maistaz (cf. O.S. mest, O.N. mestr, Ger. meist, Goth. maists "most"), superlative form of P.Gmc. *maiz, root of O.E. ma, mara (see more). Used in O.E. as superl. of micel "great, large" (see
mickle). Vowel influenced by more. Original sense of "greatest" survives in phrase for the most part (c.1400). Slang meaning "the best, extremely good" is attested from 1953. Related: Mostly. Double superlative mostest is 1885, from U.S. Southern and Black English.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
MOST
magneto-optical storage technology
The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

at the most

see under at most.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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