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Meilleur: Better and best in French

Meilleur: Better and best in French

Today we’re going to discuss the French word meilleur, which translates to both “better” and “best”, depending on the context of the sentence. Rather than getting into long winded grammatical explanations, I’ve presented several practical example sentences which make the usages easy to understand.


better, best


Podcast of today’s lesson

Word origin

According to, the modern French word meilleur (better, best) comes from melior (better) in Latin. The English word ameliorate (to make better) is also derived from this Latin word.


The pronunciaiton of meilleur is: may-yuhr [mɛjœʀ].

Video source: @YTlanguages

Example sentences

In this first example sentence, meilleur simply means “best”. Notice that I’ve added an -e to the feminine form (meilleure).

Pierre est mon meilleur ami. Françoise est ma meilleure amie.

Pierre is my best friend. Françoise is my best friend.

In this second sentence, meilleur is being used as a comparative. To compare to nouns, there is no such thing as “plus bon que” in French. To say “better than” you must say “meilleur que”.

Ce livre-ci, means “this book here” and ce livre-là means “that book there”. This lesson on demonstrative adjectives and pronouns explains how to use -ci and -là.

Ce livre-ci est meilleur que ce livre-là.

This book is better than that book.

In this example meilleur is a superlative and means “best”. I included this sentence in order to contrast meilleur livre (best book) with the previous sentence ce livre-ci est meilleur que (this book is better than). In this sentence, son could also mean “her”. I explain this in our possessive adjectives lesson.

C’est son meilleur livre.

It’s his best book.

For this final example sentence, le meilleur means “the best” for describing a masculine noun. To describe a feminine noun, say la meilleure and to describe a plural noun say les meilleur(e)s.

Ce fromage est le meilleur de la région.

This cheese is the best of the region.


licitations ! You now know how to use meilleur in French! Following this lesson, you might also want to have a look at this lesson which explores making comparisons and expressing superlatives in detail.

Example of how to use "meilleur" in French.
C’est le meilleur fromage ! It’s the best cheese!

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David Issokson

David Issokson is a lifelong language enthusiast. His head is swimming with words and sounds as he speaks over six languages. Of all the languages he speaks, he's the most passionate about French! David has helped hundreds of students to improve their French in his private online lessons. When procrastinating working on FrenchLearner, David enjoys his time skiing and hiking in Teton Valley, Idaho.

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