[ big ]
See synonyms for: bigbiggerbiggestbigs on

adjective,big·ger, big·gest.
  1. large, as in size, height, width, or amount: a big house; a big quantity.

  2. of major concern, importance, gravity, or the like: a big problem.

  1. outstanding for a specified quality: a big liar; a big success.

  2. important, as in influence, standing, or wealth: a big man in his field.

  3. grown-up; mature: big enough to know better.

  4. elder: my big sister.

  5. doing business or conducted on a large scale; major in size or importance: big government.

  6. consisting of the largest or most influential companies in an industry: Big steel wants to lower prices, but the smaller mills don't.

  7. Informal. known or used widely; popular: Nouvelle cuisine became big in the 1970s.

  8. magnanimous; generous; kindly: big enough to forgive.

  9. loud; orotund: a big voice.

  10. (of clothing or a clothing design) made of or distinguished by voluminous fabric that is loosely or softly shaped and fitted: a big shirt; the big look.

  11. (of a wine) having more than average flavor, body, and alcoholic content.

  12. filled; brimming: eyes big with tears.

  13. Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S. pregnant1 (def. 1).

  14. Obsolete. very strong; powerful.

  1. Informal. boastfully; pretentiously: to act big; to talk big.

  2. Informal. with great success; successfully: to go over big.

  1. the bigs, Sports Slang. the highest level of professional competition, as the major leagues in baseball.

Idioms about big

  1. be big on, to have a special liking or enthusiasm for: Mother is big on family get-togethers.

  2. big with child. great (def. 23).

Origin of big

First recorded in 1300–50; Middle English big(ge), beg(ge); of unknown origin

Other words for big

Opposites for big

Other words from big

  • biggish, adjective
  • bigly, adverb, adjective

Words Nearby big

Other definitions for big (2 of 2)


or bigg

[ big ]

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

Origin of big

First recorded in 1150–1200; Middle English biggen, beggen, buggen, originally, “to inhabit, reside,” from Old Norse byggja, byggva “to inhabit, settle,” cognate with Old English bū(i)an, German bauen “to build, erect” Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use big in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for big (1 of 2)


/ (bɪɡ) /

adjectivebigger or biggest
  1. of great or considerable size, height, weight, number, power, or capacity

  2. having great significance; important: a big decision

  1. important through having power, influence, wealth, authority, etc: the big four banks

  2. (intensifier usually qualifying something undesirable): a big dope

  3. informal considerable in extent or intensity (esp in the phrase in a big way)

    • elder: my big brother

    • grown-up: when you're big, you can stay up later

    • generous; magnanimous: that's very big of you

    • (in combination): big-hearted

  4. (often foll by with) brimming; full: my heart is big with sadness

  5. extravagant; boastful: he's full of big talk

  6. (of wine) full-bodied, with a strong aroma and flavour

  7. too big for one's boots or too big for one's breeches conceited; unduly self-confident

  8. in an advanced stage of pregnancy (esp in the phrase big with child)

  9. big on informal enthusiastic about: that company is big on research

  1. boastfully; pretentiously (esp in the phrase talk big)

  2. in an exceptional way; well: his talk went over big with the audience

  1. on a grand scale (esp in the phrase think big)

Origin of big

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

Derived forms of big

  • biggish, adjective
  • bigness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for big (2 of 2)


/ (bɪɡ) /

verbbigs, bigging, bigged or bug (bʌɡ) Scot
  1. to build

  2. to excavate (earth) into a pile

Origin of 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


In addition to the idioms beginning with big

  • big and bold
  • big as life
  • big bucks
  • big cheese
  • big daddy
  • big deal
  • big enchilada
  • big fish in a small pond
  • big head, have a
  • big league
  • big mouth, have a
  • big of one
  • big on
  • big shot
  • big stink
  • big time
  • big top
  • big wheel

also see:

  • go over big
  • great (big) guns
  • hit it big
  • in a big way
  • little frog in a big pond
  • make a federal case (big deal)
  • talk big
  • think big
  • too big for one's breeches
  • what's the (big) idea

Also see underbigger.

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