• synonyms

big time

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  1. Informal. the highest or most important level in any profession or occupation: She's a talented violinist, but she's not ready for the big time.
  2. Slang. a very good time.
  3. Theater. (in vaudeville) any highly successful circuit of theaters that produces two performances daily.
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Origin of big time

An Americanism dating back to 1860–65
Related formsbig-time, adjectivebig-tim·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words


British Dictionary definitions for big-timer

big time

  1. informal
    1. the big timethe highest or most profitable level of an occupation or profession, esp the entertainment business
    2. (as modifier)a big-time comedian
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Derived Formsbig-timer, noun
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-timer

big time


"upper reaches of a profession or pursuit," c.1910 from vaudeville slang; the phrase was common in colloquial use late 19c.-early 20c. in a broad range of senses: "party, shindig, fun, frolic."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with big-timer

big time


An enjoyable or exciting time, as in The children came home exhausted but happy; they really had a big time at the circus. [Mid-1800s]

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The highest or most important level in any enterprise, as in I knew that when I made it through the last audition, I was finally in the big time. [Colloquial; c. 1900] Also see big league.

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