adj. bet·ter (bĕtər), best (bĕst)
1. Being positive or desirable in nature; not bad or poor: a good experience; good news from the hospital.
a. Having the qualities that are desirable or distinguishing in a particular thing: a good exterior paint; a good joke.
b. Serving the desired purpose or end; suitable: Is this a good dress for the party?
a. Not spoiled or ruined: The milk is still good.
b. In excellent condition; sound: a good tooth.
a. Superior to the average; satisfactory: a good student.
b. Used formerly to refer to the US Government grade of meat higher than standard and lower than choice.
a. Of high quality: good books.
b. Discriminating: good taste.
a. Of moral excellence; upright: a good person.
b. Benevolent; kind: a good soul; a good heart.
c. Loyal; staunch: a good Republican.
d. Well-behaved; obedient: a good child.
e. Socially correct; proper: good manners.
7. Worthy of respect; honorable: ruined the family's good name.
8. Attractive; handsome: good looks.
9. Beneficial to health; salutary: a good night's rest.
10. Competent; skilled: a good machinist.
11. Complete; thorough: a good workout.
a. Reliable; sure: a good investment.
b. Valid or true: a good reason.
c. Genuine; real: a good dollar bill.
a. In effect; operative: a warranty good for two years; a driver's license that is still good.
b. Ready or able for a specified or assumed activity: I'm good for another round of golf.
a. Able to pay or contribute: Is she good for the money that you lent her?
b. Able to elicit a specified reaction: He is always good for a laugh.
a. Ample; substantial: a good income.
b. Bountiful: a good table.
16. Full: It is a good mile from here.
a. Pleasant; enjoyable: had a good time at the party.
b. Propitious; favorable: good weather; a good omen.
a. Landing within bounds or within a particular area of a court and therefore in play: The first serve was wide, but the second was good.
b. Passing between the uprights of the goal and therefore scoring, as a field goal in football.
19. Used to form exclamatory phrases expressing surprise or dismay: Good heavens! Good grief!
a. Something that is good.
b. A good, valuable, or useful part or aspect.
2. Welfare; benefit: for the common good.
3. Goodness; virtue: There is much good to be found in people.
a. A product that is bought and sold: frozen goods.
b. goods Portable personal property.
c. (used with a sing. or pl. verb) Fabric; material.
5. goods Slang Incriminating information or evidence: tried to get the goods on the crook.
as good as
Practically; nearly: as good as new.
Informal Used as an intensive: The pipe started to leak but good.
Permanently; forever: I'm moving to Europe for good.
Informal Very; thoroughly: I'll do it when I'm good and ready.
no good Informal
2. Futile; useless: It's no good arguing with them.
to the good
1. For the best; advantageous.
2. In an advantageous financial position: ended up to the good.
[Middle English, from Old English gōd; see ghedh- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: In standard usage, good is an adjective, and the only verbs it should be used with are linking verbs such as be, seem, or appear: The future looks good. The soup tastes good. It should not be used as an adverb with other verbs: The car runs well (not good). Thus, The dress fits well and looks good. See Usage Note at well2.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 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.