by and large

  1. in general; on the whole

Origin of by and large

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

Words Nearby by and large

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

  • Americans by-and-large spend what they earn in wages and salaries.

    Apple’s Dumb Penny-Pinching | Daniel Gross | August 3, 2013 | THE DAILY BEAST
  • Who, taken by-and-large, are these people, and where do they come from?

    Mushroom Town | Oliver Onions
  • He has let daylight through some of our canvas too; but, taking it by-and-large, the squall has gone over and little harm done.

    Sea Stories | Various

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.