Is it meant as a compliment or is it more acceptance of a situation? For instance, having loved a partner who died and feeling that you could never feel that way about anyone again and then describing the person you have just fallen in love with you say it's as good as it gets.

  • It's usually said with a note of satisfaction and pleasure, and perhaps triumph. But it can be taken as a double-edged expression, too, since—if you're at the top—there's no place to go but down.
    – Sven Yargs
    Sep 30, 2015 at 0:49
  • Could it mean that you have settled for second-best?
    – Jaimsy
    Sep 30, 2015 at 0:57
  • That sounds a bit more like the idea behind "This is the best I can hope for" or "This is as good [a thing] as I'm gonna get." I think "This is as good as it gets" implies "as good as it gets for anyone."
    – Sven Yargs
    Sep 30, 2015 at 1:35
  • 3
    Although it may not mean "as it good as it gets for everyone". Consider a prisoner asking a guard for a better pillow. The guard may say, "Sorry that's as good as it gets" which means "I know it's not very good, but you can't get any better in your position."
    – Jim
    Sep 30, 2015 at 3:54

1 Answer 1


The meaning of 'as good as it gets' can vary depending on context. The tone of voice used would also be quite relevant to correctly understanding the intention of the speaker.

The most important thing to answer here is why is it as good as it gets? Is it because the person speaking isn't willing to give any better? Or is it because this really is the best thing ever, and it would be impossible to do any better?

In your example, it is not clear who is the person that is speaking. Is it the new lover? Or is it the person who has lost someone and then fallen in love again? Assuming that it is the new lover speaking, and not given any more information about the context, I would have to assume they mean "this is as good as it is going to get for you, you should be grateful".

  • Yes, the expression covers a broad range of possibilities, from being a sad acknowledgement that things are bad and not likely to get better, to celebrating the fact that things are as fantastically great as one could imagine. It all depends on the tone and context.
    – Hot Licks
    Sep 30, 2015 at 3:25
  • 1
    As a commenter on the question notes, a third reason (beyond (1) speaker not willing to give any better and (2) being the best thing ever) could be insurmountable limitations of the speaker's circumstance.
    – ijoseph
    Aug 21, 2022 at 5:30

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