big

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See also: BIG

English[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

  • enPR: bĭg, IPA(key): /bɪɡ/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɪɡ

Etymology 1[edit]

From a northern Middle English dialectal term big, bigge (powerful, strong), of unknown origin, possibly from a dialect of Old Norse. Compare dialectal Norwegian bugge (great man).

Adjective[edit]

big (comparative bigger, superlative biggest)

  1. Of great size, large.
    Synonyms: ample, huge, large, sizeable, stoor, jumbo, massive; see also Thesaurus:big
    Antonyms: little, small, tiny, minuscule, miniature, minute
    Elephants are big animals, and they eat a lot.
  2. (of an industry or other field, often capitalized) Thought to have undue influence.
    There were concerns about the ethics of big pharma.
    Big Tech
    • 2019 April 25, Samanth Subramanian, “Hand dryers v paper towels: the surprisingly dirty fight for the right to dry your hands”, in The Guardian[1]:
      After the Airblade’s launch, a battle began to boil, pitting the dryer industry against the world’s most powerful hand-drying lobby: Big Towel.
  3. Popular.
    Synonyms: all the rage, in demand, well liked
    That style is very big right now in Europe, especially among teenagers.
    • 1984, “Big in Japan”, in Forever Young, performed by Alphaville:
      Big in Japan, alright, pay then I'll sleep by your side / Things are easy when you're big in Japan
  4. (informal) Adult.
    Synonyms: adult, fully grown, grown up; see also Thesaurus:full-grown
    Antonyms: little, young
    Kids should get help from big people if they want to use the kitchen.
    • 1931, Robert L. May, Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Montgomery Ward (publisher), draft:
      By midnight, however, the last light had fled / For even big people have then gone to bed[.]
  5. (informal) Fat.
    Synonyms: chubby, plus-size, rotund; see also Thesaurus:overweight
    Gosh, she is big!
  6. (informal) Important or significant.
    Synonyms: essential, paramount, weighty; see also Thesaurus:important
    What's so big about that? I do it all the time.
    • 1909, Archibald Marshall [pseudonym; Arthur Hammond Marshall], chapter II, in The Squire’s Daughter, London: Methuen, OCLC 12026604; republished New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1919, OCLC 491297620:
      "I was dragged up at the workhouse school till I was twelve. Then I ran away and sold papers in the streets, and anything else that I could pick up a few coppers by—except steal. I never did that. I always made up my mind I'd be a big man some day, and—I'm glad I didn't steal."
    • 2011 October 29, Neil Johnston, “Norwich 3-3 Blackburn”, in BBC Sport:
      It proved a big miss as Hoilett produced a sublime finish into the top corner of the net from 20 yards after evading a couple of challenges in first-half stoppage time.
  7. (informal, with on) Enthusiastic (about).
    Synonyms: fanatical, mad, worked up; see also Thesaurus:enthusiastic
    • 2019, Louise Taylor, Alex Morgan heads USA past England into Women’s World Cup final (in The Guardian, 2 July 2019)[2]
      Neville is big on standing by his principles and he deserves plaudits for acknowledging he got his starting system wrong, reverting to 4-2-3-1 and introducing Kirby in the No 10 role.
    I'm not big on the idea, but if you want to go ahead with it, I won't stop you.
  8. (informal, transitive with of) Mature, conscientious, principled; generous.
    That's very big of you; thank you!
    I tried to be the bigger person and just let it go, but I couldn't help myself.
    • 2011, Joe Pieri, The Big Men, →ISBN:
      So the bloke says, 'Fine, that's real big of you, much appreciated,' and off he goes with Big John back to Ferrari's.
  9. (informal) Well-endowed, possessing large breasts in the case of a woman or a large penis in the case of a man.
    Synonyms: busty, macromastic, stacked; see also Thesaurus:busty
    Whoa, Nadia has gotten pretty big since she hit puberty.
  10. (sometimes figuratively) Large with young; pregnant; swelling; ready to give birth or produce.
    Synonyms: full, great, heavy; see also Thesaurus:pregnant
    She was big with child.
    • (Can we date this quote?) Joseph Addison (1672–1719)
      [Day] big with the fate of Cato and of Rome.
  11. (informal) Used as an intensifier, especially of negative-valence nouns
    You are a big liar.  Why are you in such a big hurry?
  12. (of a city) populous
  13. (informal, slang, rare, of somebody's age) old, mature. Used to imply that somebody is too old for something, or acting immaturely.
    • 2020, Candice Carty-Williams, Notting Hill Carnival
      I don't think so, if you're shouting at people across the playground at your big age.
Derived terms[edit]
Translations[edit]
The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Adverb[edit]

big (comparative bigger, superlative biggest)

  1. In a loud manner.
  2. In a boasting manner.
    He's always talking big, but he never delivers.
  3. In a large amount or to a large extent.
    He won big betting on the croquet championship.
  4. On a large scale, expansively.
    • 1934, Agatha Christie, chapter 3, in Murder on the Orient Express, London: HarperCollins, published 2017, page 25:
      'You've got to put it over big,' he was saying in a loud nasal voice.
    You've got to think big to succeed at Amalgamated Plumbing.
  5. Hard.
    He hit him big and the guy just crumpled.

Noun[edit]

big (plural bigs)

  1. Someone or something that is large in stature
  2. An important or powerful person; a celebrity; a big name.
  3. (as plural) The big leagues, big time.
    • 2004 June 23, Michelle Boorstein, “Ballclub^s Pullout Caps Va. Town^s Run of Woes; Struggling Martinsville No Longer Celebrates Its Boys of Summer”, in Washington Post:
      In the Appalachian League, where Cal Ripken once played in Bluefield, W.Va., a ballplayer's chances of making it to the bigs are less than one in six.
  4. (BDSM, slang) The participant in ageplay who acts out the older role.
Synonyms[edit]
Antonyms[edit]

Verb[edit]

big (third-person singular simple present bigs, present participle bigging, simple past and past participle bigged) (up)

  1. (transitive) To praise, recommend, or promote.
    • 2017, Daniel Tammet, Every Word is a Bird We Teach to Sing, →ISBN, page 162:
      Some say of me, "There's Adrian again in the media, bigging himself up.

Etymology 2[edit]

From Middle English biggen, byggen, from Old Norse byggja, byggva (to build, dwell in, inhabit), a secondary form of Old Norse búa (to dwell), related to Old English būan (to dwell). Cognate with Danish bygge, Swedish bygga.

Verb[edit]

big (third-person singular simple present bigs, present participle bigging, simple past and past participle bigged)

  1. (transitive, archaic or Britain dialectal, Northern England, Scotland) to inhabit; occupy
  2. (reflexive, archaic or Britain dialectal, Northern England, Scotland) to locate oneself
  3. (transitive, archaic or Britain dialectal, Northern England, Scotland) to build; erect; fashion
  4. (intransitive, archaic or Britain dialectal, Northern England, Scotland) to dwell; have a dwelling

Etymology 3[edit]

From Middle English byge, from Old Norse bygg (barley, probably Hordeum vulgare, common barley), from Proto-Germanic *bewwuz (crop, barley). Cognate with Old English bēow (barley).

Alternative forms[edit]

Noun[edit]

big (uncountable)

  1. One or more kinds of barley, especially six-rowed barley.

Anagrams[edit]


Dutch[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle Dutch bagge, vigge. Originally a word exclusive to the Northern Dutch dialects.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

big m or f (plural biggen, diminutive biggetje n)

  1. piglet, little pig
    Synonym: keu

Derived terms[edit]


Irish[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

big

  1. inflection of beag:
    1. vocative/genitive masculine singular
    2. (archaic) dative feminine singular

Mutation[edit]

Irish mutation
Radical Lenition Eclipsis
big bhig mbig
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.

Italian[edit]

Noun[edit]

big m (invariable)

  1. star (entertainment)
  2. big shot, big noise

Scots[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Old Norse byggja (inhabit, build).

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

big (third-person singular present bigs, present participle biggin, past biggit, past participle biggit)

  1. to build

Torres Strait Creole[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From English big, cognate with (the first part of) Bislama bikfala, bigfala, Pijin bigfala, Tok Pisin bikpela.

Adjective[edit]

big

  1. big

Derived terms[edit]


Welsh[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

big

  1. Soft mutation of pig.

Mutation[edit]

Welsh mutation
radical soft nasal aspirate
pig big mhig phig
Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.

Western Apache[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Proto-Athabaskan *-wə̓t̕.

Cognates: Navajo -bid, Plains Apache -bid.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

big (inalienable)

  1. belly, stomach, abdomen
    shibigmy belly
    bibigher/his/their belly

Usage notes[edit]

  • The form -big occurs in the White Mountain varieties; -bid occurs in San Carlos and Dilzhe’eh (Tonto).