adj. & n.
adj. 1 a of a size, amount, extent, or intensity considerably above the normal or average; big (made a great hole; take great care; lived to a great age). b also with implied surprise, admiration, contempt, etc., esp. in exclamations (you great idiot!; great stuff!; look at that great wasp). c reinforcing other words denoting size, quantity, etc. (a great big hole; a great many). 2 important, pre-eminent; worthy or most worthy of consideration (the great thing is not to get caught). 3 grand, imposing (a great occasion; the great hall). 4 a (esp. of a public or historic figure) distinguished; prominent. b (the Great) as a title denoting the most important of the name (Alfred the Great). 5 a (of a person) remarkable in ability, character, achievement, etc. (great men; a great thinker). b (of a thing) outstanding of its kind (the Great Fire). 6 (foll. by at, on) competent, skilled, well-informed. 7 fully deserving the name of; doing a thing habitually or extensively (a great reader; a great believer in tolerance; not a great one for travelling). 8 (also greater) the larger of the name, species, etc. (great auk; greater celandine). 9 (Greater) (of a city etc.) including adjacent urban areas (Greater Manchester). 10 colloq. a very enjoyable or satisfactory; attractive, fine (had a great time; it would be great if we won). b (as an exclam.) fine, very good. 11 (in comb.) (in names of family relationships) denoting one degree further removed upwards or downwards (great-uncle; great-great-grandmother).
n. 1 a great or outstanding person or thing. 2 (in pl.) (Greats) colloq. (at Oxford University) an honours course or final examinations in classics and philosophy. great and small all classes or types. the Great Bear see BEAR(2). Great Britain England, Wales, and Scotland. great circle see CIRCLE. Great Dane see DANE. great deal see DEAL(1). great-hearted magnanimous; having a noble or generous mind. great-heartedness magnanimity. the great majority by far the most. great northern diver a diving sea bird, Gavia immer, of the northern hemisphere. great organ the chief manual in a large organ, with its related pipes and mechanism. Great Russian n. a member or the language of the principal ethnic group in the USSR; Russian.
adj. of or relating to this people or language. great tit a Eurasian songbird, Parus major, with black and white head markings. great toe the big toe. Great War the world war of 1914-18. to a great extent largely. greatness n.
[ OE great f. WG ]