adjective, high·er, high·est.
- having a great or considerable extent or reach upward or vertically; lofty; tall: a high wall.
- having a specified extent upward: The apple tree is now 20 feet high.
- situated above the ground or some base; elevated: a high platform; a high ledge.
- exceeding the common degree or measure; strong; intense: high speed; high color.
- expensive; costly; dear: The price of food these days is much too high.
- exalted in rank, station, eminence, etc.; of exalted character or quality: a high official; high society.
- acute in pitch.
- a little sharp, or above the desired pitch.
- produced by relatively rapid vibrations; shrill: the high sounds of crickets.
- extending to or from an elevation: a high dive.
- great in quantity, as number, degree, or force: a high temperature; high cholesterol.
- chief; principal; main: the high altar of a church.
- High Church.
- of great consequence; important; grave; serious; the high consequences of such a deed; high treason.
- haughty; arrogant: He took a high tone with his subordinates.
- advanced to the utmost extent or to the culmination: high tide.
- elevated; merry or hilarious: high spirits; a high old time.
- rich; extravagant; luxurious: They have indulged in high living for years.
- Informal. intoxicated with alcohol or narcotics: He was so high he couldn’t stand up.
- remote: high latitude; high antiquity.
- extreme in opinion or doctrine, especially religious or political: a high Tory.
- designating or pertaining to highland or inland regions.
- having considerable energy or potential power.
- Automotive. of, relating to, or operating at the gear transmission ratio at which the speed of the engine crankshaft and of the drive shaft most closely correspond: high gear.
- Phonetics. (of a vowel) articulated with the upper surface of the tongue relatively close to some portion of the palate, as the vowels of eat and it, which are high front, and those of boot and put, which are high back.Compare close(def 53), low1(def 30).
- (of meat, especially game) tending toward a desirable or undesirable amount of decomposition; slightly tainted: He likes his venison high.
- Metallurgy. containing a relatively large amount of a specified constituent (usually used in combination): high-carbon steel.
- Baseball. (of a pitched ball) crossing the plate at a level above the batter’s shoulders: The pitch was high and outside.
- having greater value than other denominations or suits.
- able to take a trick; being a winning card.
- being or having a winning combination: Whose hand is high?
- Nautical. noting a wind of force 10 on the Beaufort scale, equal to a whole gale.
adverb, high·er, high·est.
- at or to a high point, place, or level.
- in or to a high rank or estimate: He aims high in his political ambitions.
- at or to a high amount or price.
- in or to a high degree.
- luxuriously; richly; extravagantly: They have always lived high.
- Nautical. as close to the wind as is possible while making headway with sails full.
- Automotive. high gear: He shifted into high when the road became level.
- Informal. high school.
- Meteorology. a pressure system characterized by relatively high pressure at its center.Compare anticyclone, low1(def 46).
- a high or the highest point, place, or level; peak: a record high for unemployment.
- a euphoric state induced by alcohol, drugs, etc.
- a period of sustained excitement, exhilaration, or the like: After winning the lottery he was on a high for weeks.
- Cards. the ace or highest trump out, especially in games of the all fours family.
- fly high, to be full of hope or elation: His stories began to sell, and he was flying high.
- high and dry,
- (of a ship) grounded so as to be entirely above water at low tide.
- in a deprived or distressing situation; deserted; stranded: We missed the last bus and were left high and dry.
- high and low, in every possible place; everywhere: The missing jewelry was never found, though we searched high and low for it.
- high on, Informal. enthusiastic or optimistic about; having a favorable attitude toward or opinion of.
- on high,
- at or to a height; above.
- in heaven.
- having a high position, as one who makes important decisions: the powers on high.
- the comparative of high
noun (usually capital) (in Scotland)
- the advanced level of the Scottish Certificate of Education
- (as modifier)Higher Latin
- a pass in a particular subject at Higher levelshe has four Highers
- being a relatively great distance from top to bottom; talla high building
- situated at or extending to a relatively great distance above the ground or above sea levela high plateau
- (postpositive)being a specified distance from top to bottomthree feet high
- (in combination)a seven-foot-high wall
- extending from an elevationa high dive
- (in combination) coming up to a specified levelknee-high
- being at its peak or point of culminationhigh noon
- of greater than average heighta high collar
- greater than normal in degree, intensity, or amounthigh prices; a high temperature; a high wind
- of large or relatively large numerical valuehigh frequency; high voltage; high mileage
- (of sound) acute in pitch; having a high frequency
- (of latitudes) situated relatively far north or south from the equator
- (of meat) slightly decomposed or tainted, regarded as enhancing the flavour of game
- of great eminence; very importantthe high priestess
- exalted in style or character; elevatedhigh drama
- expressing or feeling contempt or arrogancehigh words
- elated; cheerfulhigh spirits
- (predicative) informal overexcitedby the end of term the children are really high
- informal being in a state of altered consciousness, characterized esp by euphoria and often induced by the use of alcohol, narcotics, etc
- luxurious or extravaganthigh life
- advanced in complexity or developmenthigh finance
- (of a gear) providing a relatively great forward speed for a given engine speedCompare low 1 (def. 21)
- phonetics of, relating to, or denoting a vowel whose articulation is produced by raising the back of the tongue towards the soft palate or the blade towards the hard palate, such as for the ee in English see or oo in English moonCompare low 1 (def. 20)
- (capital when part of name) formal and elaborate in styleHigh Mass
- (usually capital) of or relating to the High Church
- remote, esp in time
- having a relatively great value in a suit
- able to win a trick
- high and dry stranded; helpless; destitute
- high and low in all places; everywhere
- high and mighty informal arrogant
- high as a kite informal
- very drunk
- euphoric from drugs
- high opinion a favourable opinion
- at or to a heighthe jumped high
- in a high manner
- nautical close to the wind with sails full
- a high place or level
- informal a state of altered consciousness, often induced by alcohol, narcotics, etc
- another word for anticyclone
- short for high school
- (capital) (esp in Oxford) the High Street
- electronics the voltage level in a logic circuit corresponding to logical oneCompare low 1 (def. 30)
- on high
- at a height
- in heaven
comparative of high (adj.), Old English. Higher education is attested by 1839.
The French distinguish l’instruction secondaire, which includes what we term a liberal education, from l’instruction supérieure, which denotes professional education; but I do not think the corresponding English phrases are used with this distinction. [William Whewell, “Of a Liberal Education in General,” 1850]
Higher-up (n.) “one in a superior post” is from 1905, American English.
Old English heh (Anglian), heah (West Saxon) “of great height, lofty, tall, exalted, high-class,” from Proto-Germanic *haukhaz (cf. Old Saxon hoh, Old Norse har, Danish høi, Swedish hög, Old Frisian hach, Dutch hoog, Old High German hoh, German hoch, Gothic hauhs “high;” also German Hügel “hill,” Old Norse haugr “mound”), perhaps related to Lithuanian kaukara “hill.” Spelling with -gh represents a final guttural sound in the original word, lost since 14c.
Of sound pitch, late 14c. Of roads, “most frequented or important,” c.1200. Meaning “euphoric or exhilarated from alcohol” is first attested 1620s, of drugs, 1932. Sense of “proud, haughty, arrogant, supercilious” (c.1200) is reflected in high hand (late 14c.) and high horse. High seas first attested late 14c., with sense (also found in the Latin cognate) of “deep” as well as “tall” (cf. Old English heahflod “deep water,” also Old Persian baršan “height, depth”). Of an evil or a punishment, “grave, serious, severe” (e.g. high treason), c.1200 (Old English had heahsynn “deadly sin, crime”).
High pressure (adj.) is from 1824, of engines, 1891, of weather systems, 1933, of sales pitches. A child’s high chair is from 1848. High school “school for advanced studies” attested from late 15c. in Scotland; by 1824 in U.S. High time “fully time, the fullness of time,” is from late 14c. High noon is from early 14c.; the sense is “full, total, complete.” High and mighty is c.1200 (heh i mahhte). High finance (1905) is that concerned with large sums. High and dry of beached things (especially ships) is from 1783. High-water mark is what is left by a flood or highest tide (1550s); figurative use by 1814.
early 14c., “high point, top,” from high (adj.). As “area of high barometric pressure,” from 1878. As “highest recorded temperature” from 1926. Meaning “state of euphoria” is from 1953.
“thought, understanding,” obsolete from 13c. in English and also lost in Modern German, but once an important Germanic word, Old English hyge, cognate with Old Saxon hugi, Old High German hugi, Old Norse hygr, Swedish hög, Danish hu.
In addition to the idioms beginning with high
- high and dry
- high and low
- high and mighty
- high as a kite
- high gear
- high hopes
- high horse
- high jinks
- high off the hog, eat
- high on
- high places, friends in
- high seas
- high sign
- high time
- blow sky-high
- fly high
- friend in court (high places)
- hell or high water
- hit the high spots (points)
- hold one’s head high
- in high dudgeon
- knee-high to a grasshopper
- on high
- on one’s high horse
- ride high
- run high
- stink to high heaven
- think a lot (highly) of
- turn on (get high)