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From big +‎ -ness.



bigness (countable and uncountable, plural bignesses)

  1. (now rare) Size. [from 15th c.]
    • 1594, Christopher Marlowe, Edward II, Act II, Scene 1, [1]
      Mine old lord, whiles he liv'd, was so precise,
      That he would take exceptions at my buttons,
      And, being like pins' heads, blame me for the bigness;
      Which made me curate-like in mine attire,
    • 1674, John Milton, Paradise Lost, Book II, lines 1051-3, [2]
      And, fast by, hanging in a golden chain,
      This pendent World, in bigness as a star
      Of smallest magnitude close by the moon.
    • 1704, Isaac Newton, Opticks, London: William Innys, 1730, Book 3, Part I, p. 346, [3]
      Do not several sorts of Rays make Vibrations of several bignesses, which according to their bignesses excite Sensations of several Colours, much after the manner that the Vibrations of the Air, according to their several bignesses excite Sensations of several Sounds?
    • 1726, Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels, Part I, Chapter VI, [4]
      [] the tallest horses and oxen are between four and five inches in height, the sheep an inch and half, more or less: their geese about the bigness of a sparrow, and so the several gradations downwards till you come to the smallest, which to my sight, were almost invisible []
    • 1913 January–May, Edgar Rice Burroughs, “The Gods of Mars”, in The All-Story, New York, N.Y.: Frank A. Munsey Co., OCLC 17392886; republished as The Gods of Mars, New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1918, OCLC 639726183, page 48:
      Among the ornaments [] was a small mirror, about the bigness of a lady's hand glass, []
  2. The characteristic of being big. [from 15th c.]
    • 1922, Sinclair Lewis, chapter 3, in Babbitt[5]:
      It was big—and Babbitt respected bigness in anything; in mountains, jewels, muscles, wealth, or words.
    • 1944, Emily Carr, The House of Small, "Art and the House," [6]
      They liked what they liked—would tolerate no innovations. My change in thought and expression had angered them into fierce denouncement. To expose a thing deeper than its skin surface was to them an indecency. They ridiculed my striving for bigness, depth.