adjective, greater, greatest.
unusually or comparatively large in size or dimensions: A great fire destroyed nearly half the city.
large in number; numerous: Great hordes of tourists descend on Europe each summer.
unusual or considerable in degree, power, intensity, etc.: great pain.
wonderful; first-rate; very good: We had a great time. That's great!
being such in an extreme or notable degree: great friends; a great talker.
notable; remarkable; exceptionally outstanding: a great occasion.
important; highly significant or consequential: the great issues in American history.
distinguished; famous: a great inventor.
of noble or lofty character: great thoughts.
chief or principal: the great hall; his greatest novel.
of high rank, official position, or social standing: a great noble.
much in use or favor: “Humor” was a great word with the old physiologists.
of extraordinary powers; having unusual merit; very admirable: a great statesman.
of considerable duration or length: We waited a great while for the train.
enthusiastic about some specified activity (usually followed by at, for, or on ): He's great on reading poetry aloud.
skillful; expert (usually followed by at or on ): He's great at golf.
being of one generation more remote from the family relative specified (used in combination): a great-grandson.
Informal. very well: Things have been going great for him.
noun, plural greats (especially collectively) great.
a person who has achieved importance or distinction in a field: She is one of the theater's greats.
great persons, collectively: England's literary great.
(often initial capital letter) greats, (used with a singular verb) . Also called great go. British Informal.
the final examination for the bachelor's degree in the classics and mathematics, or Literae Humaniores, especially at Oxford University and usually for honors.
the course of study.
the subject studied.
(used to express acceptance, appreciation, approval, admiration, etc.).
(used ironically or facetiously to express disappointment, annoyance, distress, etc.): Great! We just missed the last train home.
great with child, being in the late stages of pregnancy.

before 900; Middle English greet, Old English grēat; cognate with Dutch groot, German gross

greatness, noun
half-great, adjective
overgreat, adjective
overgreatly, adverb
overgreatness, noun
quasi-great, adjective
quasi-greatly, adverb

1. immense, enormous, gigantic, huge, vast, grand. Great, big, large refer to size, extent, and degree. In reference to the size and extent of concrete objects, big is the most general and most colloquial word, large is somewhat more formal, and great is highly formal and even poetic, suggesting also that the object is notable or imposing: a big tree; a large tree; a great oak; a big field; a large field; great plains. When the reference is to degree or a quality, great is the usual word: great beauty; great mistake; great surprise; although big sometimes alternates with it in colloquial style: a big mistake; a big surprise; large is not used in reference to degree, but may be used in a quantitative reference: a large number (great number ). 6. noteworthy. 7. weighty, serious, momentous, vital, critical. 8. famed, eminent, noted, notable, prominent, renowned. 9. elevated, exalted, dignified. 10. main, grand, leading.

1. small. 6–8, 10, 11, 14. insignificant.
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
great (ɡreɪt)
adj (foll by with)
1.  relatively large in size or extent; big
2.  relatively large in number; having many parts or members: a great assembly
3.  of relatively long duration: a great wait
4.  of larger size or more importance than others of its kind: the great auk
5.  extreme or more than usual: great worry
6.  of significant importance or consequence: a great decision
7.  a.  of exceptional talents or achievements; remarkable: a great writer
 b.  (as noun): the great; one of the greats
8.  arising from or possessing idealism in thought, action, etc; heroic: great deeds
9.  illustrious or eminent: a great history
10.  impressive or striking: a great show of wealth
11.  much in use; favoured: poetry was a great convention of the Romantic era
12.  active or enthusiastic: a great walker
13.  doing or exemplifying (a characteristic or pursuit) on a large scale: what a great buffoon; he's not a great one for reading
14.  (often foll by at) skilful or adroit: a great carpenter; you are great at singing
15.  informal excellent; fantastic
16.  informal (Brit) (intensifier): a dirty great smack in the face
17.  archaic
 a.  pregnant: great with child
 b.  full (of): great with hope
18.  (intensifier, used in mild oaths): Great Scott!
19.  informal be great on
 a.  to be informed about
 b.  to be enthusiastic about or for
20.  informal very well; excellently: it was working great
21.  choir Compare swell Also called: great organ the principal manual on an organ
[Old English grēat; related to Old Frisian grāt, Old High German grōz; see grit, groat]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

O.E. great "big, coarse, stout," from W.Gmc. *grautaz (cf. O.S. grot, O.Fris. grat, Du. groot, Ger. groß "great"). Originally "big in size, coarse," it took over much of the sense of M.E. mickle, and is now largely superseded by big and
large except for non-material things. As a prefix to terms denoting "kinship one degree further removed" (1538) it is from the similar use of Fr. grand, itself used as the equivalent of L. magnus. An O.E. way of saying "great-grandfather" was þridda fæder, lit. "third father." In the sense of "excellent, wonderful" great is attested from 1848. Great White Way "Broadway in New York City" is from 1901. Greatcoat "large, heavy overcoat" is from 1661. Great Spirit "high deity of the North American Indians," 1703, originally translates Ojibwa kitchi manitou. The Great War originally (1887) referred to the Napoleonic Wars, later (1914) to what we now call World War I (see world).
" 'The Great War' -- as, until the fall of France, the British continued to call the First World War in order to avoid admitting to themselves that they were now again engaged in a war of the same magnitude." [Arnold Toynbee, "Experiences," 1969]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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