When someone says "He's the best", or "he is definitely first". But there is someone else who is better and when some other subject considers him/her and asks "what about -name-?", is replied with something like "Yeah dude he/she is a god, it doesn't even count.". I mean when people start counting after that person because they're so good..

Example: Michael Phelps, he says Rio was his last Olympics right? Next Olympics, when someone says "CompetitorName is the best" as in he'll win, someone else might say "Phelps is still better", and be replied with "yeah he doesn't count", not as in "he isn't here, hence he can't win" but as "he is so damn good he doesn't even count".

Is there an actual word to describe this? Excellent means good, etc.. The closest thing I can think of is is the expression "out of the spectrum". Hope you can understand what I'm asking.

Thank you.

  • Something like godlike? Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 14:38
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    The exact word you want might be nonpareil. But it's not a very common word.
    – stangdon
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 17:40
  • 2
    "In a league of their own" would work here, although not a single word. You might also consider "without equal" and "untouchable".
    – Shaggy
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 20:43

15 Answers 15


You might use the phrase "to be in a different league."

A: This guy is one of the fastest runners I've ever seen!

B: Is he better than Usain Bolt?

A: Well, Bolt's in a different league.

A common variation on this is "in a league of his own," which may fit your question even better. It means, "Far excelling even the closest contender; not having any worthy competition."

  • 1
    Everyone seems to be trying to find a word meaning the best or greatest, but only this answer includes the part about excluding them for being so good (so far).
    – Ryan
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 19:20
  • 16
    Common variation on this: "Bolt is in a league of his own."
    – plast1k
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 19:42
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    I think the variation given by @plast1k is more applicable for the question. I recommend editing it into the answer—I've proposed an edit. :)
    – Wildcard
    Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 4:45
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    Another variant commonly used in speech, and usually in informal situations, goes something like, He's/she's in a whole 'nother league. There are similar additional variants. Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 5:42
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    @LightnessRacesinOrbit: “It being an idiom doesn't magically rewrite the grammar of the English language.” How else is the grammar of a language ever made, except by the way people speak it? A whole nother (however one chooses to write it) is a phrase that native speakers use, deliberately and consistently and predictably. By any linguistic standard, it’s part of the grammar of the language — albeit associated with an informal/colloquial usage, not formal usage.
    – PLL
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 18:07

He is off the charts.

The meaning is:

Outside of the normal range of measurement; beyond expectations.


In the link provided by @stangdon (nice word BTW) scroll down to the synonyms for a number of possible options which I have selected from below:

Of all of these, I think unparalleled is the most like what you want.

  • While "in a league of his own" and "off the charts" are a more idiomatic way of saying it, I really like all these examples because they literally convey the concept in a single word. "Phelps is incomparable" is a concise way of saying exactly what you mean -- you just can't compare anyone to Phelps. Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 22:21

Generally, in this kind of situation, English speakers will actually comment on the rest of the competition:

Everyone else is competing for second place.

Which is to say that who will come in first is a foregone conclusion.

Sometimes this will be played with, for example if you wanted to discuss the competition you might say “so, who do you think will get second?” This isn’t a set phrase or anything, and most listeners will do a double-take (it’s an unusual question), but if they’re familiar with the situation they’ll likely understand the implication with just a second thought (that who will get first isn’t interesting to discuss because we all already know that).

  • I like your answer! simple, casual, easy to remember :) Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 14:33

A very famous and well-used catchphrase is greatest of all time.

Sometimes an extra word is put in, between greatest and of. For example:

By the way, I'm not claiming that Phelps is any of those things; I'm just showing how the phrase can be used.

  • 1
    Probably safe to say he's at least the first one.
    – coburne
    Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 19:03
  • Pro sports are evolving so fast in terms of athlete training and conditioning, that even Phelps or Bolt are bound to be surpassed sometime. Commented Oct 18, 2016 at 19:09
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    In sports we often shorten the "greatest of all time" to The G.O.A.T.. Read as goat.
    – earl3s
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 3:15

You could use a word that figuratively describes the person as being beyond human...



Or a word that describes him as having no equal...


Some people describe such a person colloquially, as a phenom.

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    +1 for transcendant, which is what I would have added. Not sure I agree about the others though. Commented Oct 19, 2016 at 13:20

English speakers (or at least writers) might in fact revert to a Latin phrase that has found its way into English usage and say "He is sui generis", meaning literally "He is of his own kind".

  • 2
    I would be shocked to find a single use of "sui generis" with this meaning anywhere in the literature.
    – user43477
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 14:32
  • @NajibIdrissi Just for example, second paragraph second sentence of this: scottishreviewofbooks.org/free-content/nobel-for-dylan
    – Mike Scott
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 14:36
  • It is not clear at all that it is used with the meaning "so good that it isn't even considered in the classification".
    – user43477
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 14:41

If you're talking to a statistician, you can call this an outlier. It describe a data point that is so unlike the other that they are often excluded from the data set.


You could use:

  • Unrivaled
  • Beyond compare
  • Without equal

In data science we consider that person an outlier. Meaning someone that is an anomaly, or set apart from the main body. We use it to describe a piece of data that, if we include it, throws off how we measure everything else. So we often remove them from consideration.

  • Plus one for anomaly and how we must remove them from consideration, lest we needlessly skew the results. Just be sure you always mention that you did so, for posterity.
    – Mazura
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 2:00
  • Quite true. Have to mention that you removed outliers.
    – earl3s
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 3:13

They broke the mold (when they made somebody/something).

something that you say which means someone or something is very special and that there is not another person or thing like them. They broke the mold when they made Elvis. There's never been a star to match him.TFD


The term that immediately comes to mind for me is:

A natural (n) -- a person regarded as having an innate gift or talent for a particular task or activity.

This distingushes a person who seems to have been born with great skill or talent for something from a person who merely became good at it through rigorous practice.

Einstein is one of the greatest scientists to have ever lived. While he spent most of his life refining his theories of relativity (practicing his craft), the brilliance that led him to the idea in the first place was something he was born with.

This is backed up by science, by the way. Einstein's brain has been analyzed ever since his death. Sadly, this means that no amount of learning and practice will ever make you as as much of a genius as he was.

To use your example:

Michael Phelps doesn't count. He's a natural.

  • I don't think this answers the question. Most "naturals" are not the very best, especially not to the degree the OP is looking for. Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 18:06

You could say he's in a class by himself, meaning he's unique, unrivaled or has no equal.

Usain Bolt is in a class by himself.


Another option is to say that he "stands head and shoulders above" the competition, indicating that his skill level is significantly more than anyone else's.

See http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/head+and+shoulders+above


The epitome of the selected proper noun.

  • 1
    I understand where you are going with this, but please provide details to explain why this might work.
    – Em.
    Commented Oct 20, 2016 at 19:45


serving as a desirable model; representing the best of its kind.

  • I don't think this indicates the same degree of dominance that the OP is looking for. Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 18:10

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