adjective, larg·er, larg·est.


Music. the longest note in mensural notation.
Obsolete. generosity; bounty.


Nautical. with the wind free or abaft the beam so that all sails draw fully.


    at large,
    1. free from restraint or confinement; at liberty: The murderer is still at large.
    2. to a considerable extent; at length: to treat a subject at large.
    3. as a whole; in general: the country at large.
    4. Also at-large.representing the whole of a state, district, or body rather than one division or part of it: a delegate at large.
    5. Also at-large.having a general, as opposed to a specific, role in an organization or project: She’s the magazine’s editor-at-large.
    in large, on a large scale; from a broad point of view: a problem seen in large.Also in the large.

Origin of large

1125–75; Middle English < Old French < Latin larga, feminine of largus ample, generous
Related formslarge·ness, nouno·ver·large, adjectiveul·tra·large, adjectiveun·large, adjective
Can be confusedlarge largess

Synonyms for large

Antonyms for large

1. small. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for largeness

breath, proportion, extent, measure

Examples from the Web for largeness

Contemporary Examples of largeness

Historical Examples of largeness

  • Largeness, freedom, human sympathy, are revealed upon every page.

  • It wouldn't have occurred to me that it was any indication of largeness.

    The Dominant Strain

    Anna Chapin Ray

  • This was not the largeness we were facing now, but smallness.

    Beyond the Vanishing Point

    Raymond King Cummings

  • Canada is just beginning to realise the largeness of her mineral resources.

  • It was only the largeness of the sum which made him hesitate.

    The Man Who Knew

    Edgar Wallace

British Dictionary definitions for largeness



having a relatively great size, quantity, extent, etc; big
of wide or broad scope, capacity, or range; comprehensivea large effect
having or showing great breadth of understandinga large heart
nautical (of the wind) blowing from a favourable direction
rare overblown; pretentious
obsolete (of manners and speech) gross; rude


at large
  1. (esp of a dangerous criminal or wild animal) free; not confined
  2. roaming freely, as in a foreign country
  3. as a whole; in general
  4. in full detail; exhaustively
  5. ambassador-at-large See ambassador (def. 4)
in large or in the large as a totality or on a broad scale


nautical with the wind blowing from a favourable direction
by and large
  1. (sentence modifier)generally; as a ruleby and large, the man is the breadwinner
  2. nauticaltowards and away from the wind
loom large to be very prominent or important
Derived Formslargeness, noun

Word Origin for large

C12 (originally: generous): via Old French from Latin largus ample, abundant
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 largeness

c.1300, from large + -ness.



c.1200, "bountiful, inclined to give or spend freely," also, of areas, "great in expanse," from Old French large "broad, wide; generous, bounteous," from Latin largus "abundant, copious, plentiful; bountiful, liberal in giving," of unknown origin. Main modern meanings "extensive; big in overall size" emerged 14c. An older sense of "liberated, free from restraining influence" is preserved in at large (late 14c.). Adjective phrase larger-than-life first attested 1937 (bigger than life is from 1640s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with largeness


see at large; big (large) as life; by and large; cog in the (a large) wheel; in some (large) measure; loom large; writ large.

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