What Does Think Highly Of Someone Mean?

Think Highly Of Meaning

Definition: To regard someone with respect; to have a positive opinion of that person.

Origin of Think Highly Of

The records are scarce for the origin of this expression. However, examples are easy to find going as far back as the 1600s.

The adverb highly first appeared in the 900s and means honorably or gloriously.

The verb think also appeared in the 900s. One of its definitions is to regard someone or to hold an opinion of someone.

Given the age of these two words, it would make sense for this expression to have originated earlier than the 1600s, but there is definitive origin story.

Examples of Think Highly Of

thinking highly of oneselfIn this conversation, two high-school students are discussing an essay that they must complete for their English class.

Lisa: This essay doesn’t seem too hard. I am actually looking forward to writing about the life of my hero.

Annie: It won’t be hard to write once I’ve chosen my hero. I’m not sure whom to pick.

Lisa: Really? There are so many good choices!

Annie: Well, we aren’t allowed to choose a family member, and I feel like most historical figures did as many bad things as good things.

Lisa: Are you saying that there is no person in the history of the world that you think highly of?

Annie: I guess I could write about Harriet Tubman.

think highly of yourselfIn the dialogue below, two friends are discussing their family histories.

Seth: My family is pretty boring.

Jimmy: No family is boring! They must have done something cool. When did they immigrate to this country? Or were they Native Americans?

Seth: My grandfather came over from Italy. Actually, he is really interesting. He overcame so much hardship in order to provide for his family. I think so highly of him because of his bravery and dedication.

More Examples

This excerpt is from an article about the mayor of New York City, and a poll that showed he had low approval amongst voters.

  • City Hall officials, who dismissed Tuesday’s poll, didn’t think highly of the latest survey either. –New York Post

This excerpt is from an article about college basketball.

  • “Certainly, we’re excited that people think highly of our team, and the ACC as a whole.” –LA Times


The phrase think highly of means to esteem or to value someone.