by and large

Save This Word!

in general; on the whole
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Word Origin for by and large

C17: originally nautical (meaning: to the wind and off it)
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

How to use by and large in a sentence

Other Idioms and Phrases with by and large

by and large

For the most part, generally speaking, as in By and large the novel was a success. This expression originated in 17th-century seamanship, where it referred to sailing into the wind and then off it, which made it easier to steer. By the early 1700s the term had been broadened to mean “in one direction and another,” whence its present meaning of “in general.” For a synonym, see for the most part.

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