Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
- Used other than as an idiom: see big, picture.
- The totality of a situation.
1941, United States House Merchant Marine and Fisheries, Merchant-marine inquiry forwarders: Executive hearings, page 35:
- I do not care whether it is placed or not, if I get my stuff to that ship. Now, it is my job to look at the big picture.
1951, US Senate Committee on Armed Services, Military situation in the Far East, page 3089:
- We need somebody who will overlook the petty details, look at the big picture, decide what is necessary to end the war, make a plan,
1993, Bill Clinton, Presidential Radio Address - 31 July 1993:
- I met an executive from Missouri who turned around a failing plant by sharing information with employees about the company's performance. When the employees understood the big picture, they did even better at their jobs.
2002, Kate Chynoweth, Neryl Walker, The Bridesmaid Guide:
- In the prewedding whirlwind of bridal showers, dress shopping, and parties, even the most budget savvy bridesmaids can overspend by mistake. Because the events span several months, it can be easy to lose track of the big picture and splurge at each event.
- (UK, dated) The main film in a double feature.
- (slang) The movies or movie theaters.
- (totality of situation): grand scheme
totality of a situation