big tent



a political party's or coalition's policy or doctrine of allowing and encouraging a wide range of beliefs, opinions, and views among its members.

Origin of big tent

First recorded in 1960–65
Related formsbig-tent, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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Contemporary Examples of big-tent

British Dictionary definitions for big-tent

big tent


  1. a political approach in which a party claims to be open to a wide spectrum of constituents and groups
  2. (as modifier)big-tent politics
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

Word Origin and History for big-tent

in reference to welcoming all sorts and not being ideologically narrow, American English, 1982 with reference to religion, by 1987 with reference to politics.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper