adjective, larg·er, larg·est.
- unrestrained in the use of language; gross; improper.
- unrestrained in behavior or manner; uninhibited.
- free from restraint or confinement; at liberty: The murderer is still at large.
- to a considerable extent; at length: to treat a subject at large.
- as a whole; in general: the country at large.
- Also at-large. representing the whole of a state, district, or body rather than one division or part of it: a delegate at large.
- Also at-large. having a general, as opposed to a specific, role in an organization or project: She’s the magazine’s editor-at-large.
Origin of large
British Dictionary definitions for at large
- (esp of a dangerous criminal or wild animal) free; not confined
- roaming freely, as in a foreign country
- as a whole; in general
- in full detail; exhaustively
- ambassador-at-large See ambassador (def. 4)
- (sentence modifier) generally; as a ruleby and large, the man is the breadwinner
- nautical towards and away from the wind
Word Origin for large
Word Origin and History for at large
c.1200, "bountiful, inclined to give or spend freely," also, of areas, "great in expanse," from Old French large "broad, wide; generous, bounteous," from Latin largus "abundant, copious, plentiful; bountiful, liberal in giving," of unknown origin. Main modern meanings "extensive; big in overall size" emerged 14c. An older sense of "liberated, free from restraining influence" is preserved in at large (late 14c.). Adjective phrase larger-than-life first attested 1937 (bigger than life is from 1640s).
Culture definitions for at large
A descriptive term for the election of public officials by an entire governmental unit rather than by subdivisions of the unit. For example, a delegate at large does not represent any specific district or locale, but speaks instead for a much wider group of people.
Idioms and Phrases with at large (1 of 2)
Free, unconfined, especially not confined in prison, as in To our distress, the housebreakers were still at large. [1300s]
At length, fully; also, as a whole, in general. For example, The chairman talked at large about the company's plans for the coming year, or, as Shakespeare wrote in Love's Labour's Lost (1:1): “So to the laws at large I write my name” (that is, I uphold the laws in general). This usage is somewhat less common. [1400s]
Elected to represent an entire group of voters rather than those in a particular district or other segment—for example, alderman at large, representing all the wards of a city instead of just one, or delegate at large to a labor union convention. [Mid-1700s]
Idioms and Phrases with at large (2 of 2)
see at large; big (large) as life; by and large; cog in the (a large) wheel; in some (large) measure; loom large; writ large.