[ big ]
/ bɪg /
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See synonyms for: big / bigger / biggest / bigs on Thesaurus.com

adjective, big·ger, big·gest.
Informal. boastfully; pretentiously: to act big; to talk big.
Informal. with great success; successfully: to go over big.
the bigs, Sports Slang. the highest level of professional competition, as the major leagues in baseball.
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Idioms about big

    be big on, to have a special liking or enthusiasm for: Mother is big on family get-togethers.
    big with child. great (def. 23).

Origin of big

1250–1300; Middle English big(ge), of unknown origin


biggish, adjectivebigly, adverb, adjective

Other definitions for big (2 of 2)


or bigg

[ big ]
/ bɪg /

verb (used with object), bigged, big·ging.British Dialect.
to build.

Origin of big

1150–1200; Middle English biggen originally, to inhabit <Old Norse byggja to inhabit, cognate with Old English (i)an,German bauen
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What is a basic definition of big?

Big describes something that is large in height, weight, size, or amount. Big can also describe something that is significant or, informally, something that is popular. Big has many other senses as an adjective and a few as an adverb and a noun.

Big can describe things that are tall, wide, massive, or plentiful. It’s a synonym of words such as large, great, and huge, describing something as being notably high in number or scale in some way.

  • Real-life examples: The Grand Canyon is a big hole in the ground. Jupiter is a big planet. You would need a big box to hold 300 books. Skyscrapers are big buildings.
  • Used in a sentence: The restaurant brought out a big table to seat all 30 of us. 

Big also describes something that is very important, worrisome, alarming, influential, or similarly worthy of notice.

  • Real-life examples: Jumping out of a plane without a parachute is a big mistake. A comet hitting Earth would be a big issue. The discovery of life on Mars would be big news.
  • Used in a sentence: The mold in our house turned into a big problem when we found out it was toxic. 

Big is used informally to mean that something is popular or widely known.

  • Real-life examples: Disco was big in the 1970s. The internet started to become big in the 1990s when computers became affordable and connection speeds improved.
  • Used in a sentence: The actor was big 10 years ago but now nobody knows who he is. 

Where does big come from?

The first records of big come from around 1250. It comes from the Middle English big(ge), but any earlier origin is unknown.

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What are some other forms related to big?

What are some synonyms for big?

What are some words that share a root or word element with big

What are some words that often get used in discussing big?

How is big used in real life?

Big is a very common word that is most often used to describe something as being large in some way.

Try using big!

Is big used correctly in the following sentence?

The dog was so big that my friend thought it was a small horse. 


What are other ways to say big?

Something that is big is large in size, height, width, or amount. How is big different from great and large? Find out on Thesaurus.com. 

How to use big in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for big (1 of 2)

/ (bɪɡ) /

adjective bigger or biggest
adverb informal
See also big up

Derived forms of big

biggish, adjectivebigness, noun

Word Origin for big

C13: perhaps of Scandinavian origin; compare Norwegian dialect bugge big man

British Dictionary definitions for big (2 of 2)

/ (bɪɡ) /

verb bigs, bigging, bigged or bug (bʌɡ) Scot
to build
to excavate (earth) into a pile

Word Origin for big

from Old Norse byggja; related to Old English būian to inhabit
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with big


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.