big tent

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See also: big-tent


Alternative forms[edit]


(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)


big tent (plural big tents)

  1. (idiomatic) A group, philosophy, or social or political movement that encompasses or seeks to attract a broad range of members or constituents.
    • 1995 July 10, Elizabeth Gleick et al., “Sobering Times for A.A.”, in Time[1], archived from the original on 2010-08-03:
      The newcomers often bring an array of ancillary problems to meetings, including emotional trauma and addiction to other drugs. As the organization metamorphoses, its supporters wonder whether A.A. [Alcoholics Anonymous] can or should be such a big tent.
    • 1996 September 8, “Why Cowboys Became Kings”, in Newsweek[2]:
      They are not a slice of Americana, as we usually say, but rather, a broad brush of it. While most of our successful sports franchises display some distinct personality, only the Cowboys offer the big tent.
    • 2008 December 6, Caitlin Flanagan; Benjamin Schwarz, “Showdown in the Big Tent”, in New York Times[3]:
      And here in essence is the problem with the Democrats’ big tent, as well as the grounds for a wholly new kind of culture war that is probably going to make us long for the clear lines and simple enmities of the old one.
  2. (attributive, sometimes hyphenated) Pertaining to, representing, or advocating such a group, philosophy, or movement.
    • 2008 January 19, Mo Rocca, Wait, Wait...Don’t Tell Me!, National Public Radio:
      Kucinich is a pretty big tent kinda guy. He’s very liberal.


Further reading[edit]