Old English mast "greatest number, amount, extent," earlier mæst, from Proto-Germanic *maistaz (source also of Old Saxon mest, Old Frisian mast, Old Norse mestr, Dutch meest, German meist, Gothic maists "most"), superlative form of Proto-Germanic *maiz, root of Old English ma, mara (see more). Used in Old English as superlative of micel "great, large" (see mickle). Vowel influenced by more. Original sense of "greatest" survives in phrase for the most part (c. 1400). Slang meaning "the best, extremely good" is attested from 1953. Also used as an adverb in Old English. Phrase make the most of (something) is by 1520s. Related: Mostly. Double superlative mostest is 1885, from U.S. Southern and African-American vernacular.
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