A Dictionary of the English Language
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Great (adjective)

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 935, 936

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 935, 936

Great. adj. [ᵹꞃaꞇ, Saxon; groot, Dutch.]

  1. Large in bulk or number.

    Judas one of the twelve came, and with a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Mat. xxvi. 47.

    All these cities were fenced with high walls, gates and bars, besides unwalled towns a great many. Deutr. iii. v.

    The idea of so much is positive and clear: the idea of greater is also clear, but it is but a comparative idea. Locke.

  2. Having any quality in a high degree.

    There were they in great fear. Ps. xiv. 5.

    This is a great paradox. Tillotson.

  3. Considerable in extent of duration.

    Thou hast spoken of thy servants house for a great while to come. 2 Sa. vii. 19.

  4. Important; weighty.

    Have broke their backs with laying manors on them,
    For this great journey.
    Shakespeare's Henry VIII.

    And though this be a great truth, if it be impartially considered, yet it is also a great paradox to men of corrupt minds and vitious practices. Tillotson, Sermon 6.

  5. Chief; principal.

    Hear the king's pleasure, cardinal, who commands you
    To render up the great seal presently.
    Shakes. Henry VIII.

  6. Of high rank; of large power.

    Such men as he be never at heart's ease,
    Whilst they behold a greater than themselves.
    Sh. Jul. Cæs.

                Of all the great, how few
    Are just to heaven, and to their promise true!
    Pope's Odyss.

    Misfortune made the throne her seat,
    And none could be unhappy but the great.

                    Despise the farce of state,
    The sober follies of the wise and great.

  7. Illustious; eminent.

    O Lord, thou art great, and thy name is great in might. Jer. x. 6.

  8. Grand of aspect; of elevated mien.

    Such Dido was; with such becoming state,
    Amidst the crowd, she walks serenely great.
    Dryd. Virgil.

  9. Noble; magnanimous.

    In her every thing was goodly and stately; yet so, that it might seem that great mindedness was but the ancient-bearer to the humbleness. Sidney.

  10. Swelling; proud.

    Soiyman perceived that Vienna was not to be won with words, nor the defendants to be discouraged with great looks; wherefore he begun to batter the walls. Knolles.

  11. Familiar; much acquainted. A low word.

    Those that would not censure, or speak ill of a man immediately, will talk more boldly of those that are great with them, and thereby would their honour. Bacon, Essay 49.

  12. Pregnant; teeming.

                        Their bellies great
    With swelling vanity, bring forth deceit.

    This fly, for most he stings in heat of day,
    From cattle great with young keep thou away.
    May's Virg.

  13. It is added in every step of ascending or descending consanguinity: as great grandson is the son of my grandson.

    I dare not yet affirm for the antiquity of our language, that our great-great-great grandsires tongue came out of Persia. Camden's Remains.

    What we call great-great grandfather they called fortha-fader. Camden's Remainder.

    Their holiday-cloaths go from father to son, and are seldom worn out 'till the second or third generation; so that 'tis common enough to see a countryman in the doublet and breeches of his great grandfather. Addison.

  14. Hard; difficult; grievous. A proverbial expression.

    It is no great matter to live lovingly with good natured and meek persons. Taylor's Devotion.

Sources: The Bible - 2. Samuel (10) · Addison, Joseph (408) · Bacon, Francis (396) · Camden, William (28) · The Bible - Deuteronomy (21) · Dryden, John (788) · Shakespeare's Henry VIII (62) · The Bible - Jeremiah (13) · Shakespeare's Julius Caesar (42) · Knolles, Richard (44) · Locke, John (269) · The Bible - Matthew (21) · May, Thomas (5) · Pope, Alexander (393) · The Bible - Psalms (29) · Rowe, Nicholas (21) · Sandys, George (23) · Sidney, Philip (140) · Taylor, Jeremy (57) · Tillotson, John (68)

Attributes: Adjective (426) · Dutch (90) · Saxon (215)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Great (adjective)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 23, 2013. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/great-adjective/.

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