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Oracle/PLSQL: GREATEST Function

Learn how to use the Oracle/PLSQL GREATEST function with syntax and examples.


The Oracle/PLSQL GREATEST function returns the greatest value in a list of expressions.


The syntax for the Oracle/PLSQL GREATEST function is:

GREATEST( expr1, expr2, ... expr_n )

Parameters or Arguments

expr1, expr2, . expr_n are expressions that are evaluated by the GREATEST function.


If the datatypes of the expressions are different, all expressions will be converted to whatever datatype expr1 is.

If the comparison is based on a character comparison, one character is considered greater than another if it has a higher character set value.

Applies To

The GREATEST function can be used in the following versions of Oracle/PLSQL:

  • Oracle 12c, Oracle 11g, Oracle 10g, Oracle 9i, Oracle 8i


Let's look at some Oracle GREATEST function examples and explore how you would use the GREATEST function in Oracle/PLSQL.

For example:

GREATEST(2, 5, 12, 3) would return 12
GREATEST('2', '5', '12', '3') would return '5'
GREATEST('apples', 'oranges', 'bananas') would return 'oranges'
GREATEST('apples', 'applis', 'applas') would return 'applis'