From a northern Middle English dialectal term big, bigge (“powerful, strong”) possibly from a dialect of Old Norse. Ultimately perhaps a derivative of Proto-Germanic *bugja- (“swollen up, thick”), in which case big would be related to bogey, bugbear, and bug.
- 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.
- 1909, Archibald Marshall [pseudonym; Arthur Hammond Marshall], chapter III, in The Squire’s Daughter, New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead and Company, published 1919, OCLC 491297620:
- 2013 July 6, “The rise of smart beta”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8843, page 68:
- Investors face a quandary. Cash offers a return of virtually zero in many developed countries; government-bond yields may have risen in recent weeks but they are still unattractive. Equities have suffered two big bear markets since 2000 and are wobbling again. It is hardly surprising that pension funds, insurers and endowments are searching for new sources of return.
- (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:
- 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.
- 2020 July 28, “Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google Prepare for Their ‘Big Tobacco Moment’”, in New York Times:
- “The C.E.O.s don’t want to be testifying. Even having this collective hearing creates a sense of quasi-guilt just because of who else has gotten called in like this — Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, Big Banks,” said Paul Gallant, a tech policy analyst at the investment firm Cowen. “That’s not a crowd they want to be associated with.”
- 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
- (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[.]
- (informal) Fat.
- (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, New York, N.Y.: Dodd, Mead and Company, published 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.
- (informal, with on) Enthusiastic (about).
- 2019, Louise Taylor, Alex Morgan heads USA past England into Women’s World Cup final (in The Guardian, 2 July 2019)
- I'm not big on the idea, but if you want to go ahead with it, I won't stop you.
- (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.
- (informal) Well-endowed, possessing large breasts in the case of a woman or a large penis in the case of a man.
- (sometimes figuratively) Large with young; pregnant; swelling; ready to give birth or produce.
- [Day] big with the fate of Cato and of Rome.
- (informal) Used as an intensifier, especially of negative-valence nouns
- You are a big liar. Why are you in such a big hurry?
- (of a city) populous
- (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.
- 2020, Candice Carty-Williams, Notting Hill Carnival
- Big Apple
- big baby
- big band
- Big Bang
- big bath
- big beat
- Big Ben
- Big Bertha
- big blind
- big bluestem
- Big Board
- big box
- big boy, big boys
- big break
- big brother
- Big Brother
- big bucks
- big business
- big C
- big cat
- big cheese
- Big Crunch
- Big D
- big daddy
- big deal
- Big Dipper
- Big Easy
- big enchilada
- big end
- big fat, big-fat, big phat
- big figure
- big fish
- big fish in a small pond
- big fly
- Big Four
- big game
- biggie, no biggie
- big girl's blouse
- big government
- big gun
- big hair
- big hand
- big H, Big H
- big head, big-head
- Big Horn County
- big house
- big idea
- big if
- big iron
- Big Island
- big kahuna
- big kid
- big labor
- Big Lake
- big lick
- big lie
- big light
- big lug
- Big Mac
- big money
- big mouth
- Big Muddy
- big name, big-name
- big O
- big old, big ole
- big one, the big one
- big O notation
- big pharma
- big picture
- Big Q
- Big Rapids
- big rig
- Big Rip
- big science
- big screen
- big shagbank
- big shot
- big shoulder
- Big Six
- big six, the big six
- big sleep
- big slick
- Big Smoke
- big spender
- big spring
- big stick
- Big Stone County
- Big Sur
- big talk
- big tent
- Big Three
- Big Timber
- big time, big-time, bigtime
- big toe
- big top, big-top
- big tree
- Big Uglies
- big ugly dish
- big up
- big wheel
- big whoop
- big wig, big-wig, bigwig
- big wow
- great big
- hit it big
- make a big thing out of
- make it big
- Mr. Big, Mr Big, Mister Big
- the bigs
- too big for one's boots, too big for one's britches
- too big to fail
- 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.
- In a loud manner.
- In a boasting manner.
- He's always talking big, but he never delivers.
- In a large amount or to a large extent.
- He won big betting on the croquet championship.
- 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.
- He hit him big and the guy just crumpled.
big (plural bigs)
- Someone or something that is large in stature
- An important or powerful person; a celebrity; a big name.
- (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.
- (BDSM, slang) The participant in ageplay who acts out the older role.
- (big leagues): major leagues
- (BDSM): little
- (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.
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.
- (transitive, archaic or Britain dialectal, Northern England, Scotland) to inhabit; occupy
- (reflexive, archaic or Britain dialectal, Northern England, Scotland) to locate oneself
- (transitive, archaic or Britain dialectal, Northern England, Scotland) to build; erect; fashion
- (intransitive, archaic or Britain dialectal, Northern England, Scotland) to dwell; have a dwelling
|Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.|
big m (invariable)
- to build
Torres Strait Creole
- Soft mutation of .
|Note: Some of these forms may be hypothetical. Not every|
possible mutated form of every word actually occurs.
- The form -big occurs in the White Mountain varieties; -bid occurs in San Carlos and Dilzhe’eh (Tonto).