at large

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See also: at-large


Alternative forms[edit]


From Middle English at large (at liberty or freedom) (compare Middle English ben at large (to be at one's liberty, be free)). Compare Old French au large (“at liberty” and other senses).


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Prepositional phrase[edit]

at large

  1. (idiomatic) On the loose; roaming freely; not confined.
    For a nervous twenty-four hours, three wanted criminals were at large in the city.
    The ambassador-at-large was designated to the Middle East as a region, rather than to a specific country.
  2. (obsolete) In full, fully.
    • 1624, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy: [], 2nd edition, Oxford, Oxfordshire: Printed by John Lichfield and James Short, for Henry Cripps, →OCLC:
      , vol.I, New York 2001, p.236:
      The like example I find in Lælius à Fonte Eugubinus, consult. 129 […]. Read in him the story at large.
  3. In general; as a whole.
    Some people support the measure, but the community at large will probably be against it.
  4. (US, politics, of an election or elected position) Having an electorate across multiple districts.
    The city has five city council districts; however, the mayor is elected at large.
    • 1991 May 4, Elizabeth Yukins, “City Council Candidates Lobby For The Gay Vote”, in Gay Community News, page 3:
      Although the elections for Boston City Council seats are still seven months away, the race between at-large candidates is beginning to heat up.


Derived terms[edit]