the better part of (something)

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the better part of (something)

The majority of something. I'm sorry I'm late—my doctor's appointment took the better part of an hour.
See also: better, of, part

the better/best part of something

most of something: I worked at the camp for the better part of the summer.He had lived there for the best part of fifty years.
See also: better, of, part, something
References in classic literature ?
Summer was now past and gone, and the better part of autumn likewise.
The years have gone, and the better part of me, if ever there was a better part, with them."
But it is evident that this was not Solon's intention, but that it arose from accident; for the people being the cause of the naval victory over the Medes, assumed greatly upon it, and enlisted themselves under factious demagogues, although opposed by the better part of the citizens.
Coming from the better part of the fair, I noticed a man who looked like a gentleman farmer, with a young boy by his side; he had a broad back and round shoulders, a kind, ruddy face, and he wore a broad-brimmed hat.
After that experience I avoided the hole in the wall for the better part of a day.
The task was an arduous one and required the better part of a month, though he built but one small room.
This fellow charged Nobs, whose Capronian experiences had taught him that discretion is the better part of valor--with the result that he dived head foremost into the stream beside me after giving vent to a series of ferocious growls which had no more effect upon Hyaena spelaeus than might a sweet smile upon an enraged tusker.
I forced water from my canteen between his dead lips, bathed his face and rubbed his hands, working over him continuously for the better part of an hour in the face of the fact that I knew him to be dead.
"No; you know I have a tolerably handsome house; and that house composes the better part of my property."
For the better part of a week he roamed the jungle with his new friends, partly because of a desire for companionship and partially through a well-laid plan to impress himself indelibly upon their memories, which at best are none too long; for Tarzan from past experience knew that it might serve him in good stead to have a tribe of these powerful and terrible beasts at his call.
But the story would include a chain of events extending over the better part of two centuries, and, written out with reasonable amplitude, would fill a bigger folio volume, or a longer series of duodecimos, than could prudently be appropriated to the annals of all New England during a similar period.
The Pyncheons, in brief, lived along, for the better part of two centuries, with perhaps less of outward vicissitude than has attended most other New England families during the same period of time.
Hyde was thenceforth impossible; whether I would or not, I was now confined to the better part of my existence; and O, how I rejoiced to think of it!
I had spent the better part of the night at the bedside of the worshipful Governor Winthrop, doing what my poor skill might to give him ease.
However, Kamworor - who stayed behind for the better part of the race before hitting the front with 300m to go to win in 27 minutes and 24.76 seconds - stuck with his early decision not to skip the World Championships slated for September 28 to October 6 in Doha, Qatar.
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