Big Bang

or big bang

[ big bang ]


  1. the sudden, instantaneous expansion of space from an exploding point of dense energy, starting the universe:

    In the first seconds following the Big Bang, the universe expanded faster than the speed of light.

  2. Astrophysics. the model or theory that explains the start of the universe by a sudden, instantaneous expansion of space from an exploding point of dense energy (often used attributively):

    The Big Bang cannot be tested via experiment, but it can be used to make testable predictions.

    The current cosmological model, called the Big Bang, is explained below.

  3. big bang, any event or action that represents a sudden and massive development (often used attributively):

    The Prime Minister's commitment is being seen as one of the big bang decisions of this century.

    After spending $750 million on a redesign big bang, the Operations Center had nothing to show for it.

big bang


  1. any sudden forceful beginning or radical change
  2. modifier of or relating to the big-bang theory
  3. sometimes capitals the major modernization that took place on the London Stock Exchange on Oct 27 1986, after which the distinction between jobbers and brokers was abolished and operations became fully computerized

big bang

/ bĭg /

  1. The explosion of an extremely small, hot, and dense body of matter that, according to some cosmological theories, gave rise to the universe between 12 and 20 billion years ago.
  2. Compare big crunchSee also open universe

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Word History and Origins

Origin of Big Bang1

Coined in 1949 by British astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle (1915–2001)

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A Closer Look

In the 1920s astronomer Edwin Hubble discovered that wherever one looked in space, distant galaxies were rapidly moving away from Earth, and the more distant the galaxy the greater its speed. Through this observation he determined that the universe was becoming larger. Hubble also found that the ratio between a galaxy's distance and velocity (speed and direction of travel) was constant; this value is called the Hubble constant. By calculating the distance and velocity of various galaxies and working backward, astronomers could determine how long ago the expansion began—in other words, the age of the universe. The figure, which scientists are constantly refining, is currently thought to be between 12 and 20 billion years. According to the widely accepted theory of the big bang, the universe was originally smaller than a dime and almost infinitely dense. A massive explosion, which kicked off the expansion, was the origin of all known space, matter, energy, and time. Scientists are also attempting to calculate how much mass the universe contains in order to predict its future. If there is enough mass, the gravity attracting all its pieces to each other will eventually stop the expansion and pull the universe back together in a big crunch. There may not be enough mass, however, to result in an eventual collapse. If that is the case, then the universe will expand forever, and all galaxies and matter will drift apart, eventually becoming dark and cold.

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Example Sentences

More clumsily, fireworks stand in for the Big Bang and a potato and peas are invoked to explain relativity.

In 1996, John Paul II called the Big Bang theory “more than a hypothesis.”

But in many ways, too, The Big Bang Theory is a far more audacious series than it gets credit for.

Eight seasons in, The Big Bang Theory is one of the funniest shows on TV.

Consider a song like “Crayon” by G-Dragon, a member of the boy band Big Bang.

Whenever there was a big bang I couldn't help giving (p.026) a jump.

But dey didn't stop, an' de nextest t'ing I knowed dere was a big bang.

Bangs to the right of us, bangs to the left of us, bangs above us—then one glorious big bang and out went the lights.


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