adjective, big·ger, big·gest.
- large, as in size, height, width, or amount: a big house; a big quantity.
- of major concern, importance, gravity, or the like: a big problem.
- outstanding for a specified quality: a big liar; a big success.
- important, as in influence, standing, or wealth: a big man in his field.
- grown-up; mature: big enough to know better.
- elder: my big sister.
- doing business or conducted on a large scale; major in size or importance: big government.
- consisting of the largest or most influential companies in an industry: Big steel wants to lower prices, but the smaller mills don’t.
- Informal. known or used widely; popular: Nouvelle cuisine became big in the 1970s.
- magnanimous; generous; kindly: big enough to forgive.
- boastful; pompous; pretentious; haughty: a big talker.
- loud; orotund: a big voice.
- (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.
- (of a wine) having more than average flavor, body, and alcoholic content.
- filled; brimming: eyes big with tears.
- Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S. pregnant.
- Obsolete. very strong; powerful.
- Informal. boastfully; pretentiously: to act big; to talk big.
- Informal. with great success; successfully: to go over big.
- the bigs, Sports Slang. the highest level of professional competition, as the major leagues in baseball.
- be big on, to have a special liking or enthusiasm for: Mother is big on family get-togethers.
- big with child. great(def 23).
adjective bigger or biggest
- of great or considerable size, height, weight, number, power, or capacity
- having great significance; importanta big decision
- important through having power, influence, wealth, authority, etcthe big four banks
- (intensifier usually qualifying something undesirable)a big dope
- informal considerable in extent or intensity (esp in the phrase in a big way)
- eldermy big brother
- grown-upwhen you’re big, you can stay up later
- generous; magnanimousthat’s very big of you
- (in combination)big-hearted
- (often foll by with) brimming; fullmy heart is big with sadness
- extravagant; boastfulhe’s full of big talk
- (of wine) full-bodied, with a strong aroma and flavour
- too big for one’s boots or too big for one’s breeches conceited; unduly self-confident
- in an advanced stage of pregnancy (esp in the phrase big with child)
- big on informal enthusiastic aboutthat company is big on research
- boastfully; pretentiously (esp in the phrase talk big)
- in an exceptional way; wellhis talk went over big with the audience
- on a grand scale (esp in the phrase think big)
verb bigs, bigging, bigged or bug (bʌɡ) Scot
- to build
- to excavate (earth) into a pile
superlative of big.
c.1300, northern England dialect, “powerful, strong,” of obscure origin, possibly from a Scandinavian source (cf. Norwegian dialectal bugge “great man”). Old English used micel in many of the same senses. Meaning “of great size” is late 14c.; that of “grown up” is attested from 1550s. Sense of “important” is from 1570s. Meaning “generous” is U.S. colloquial by 1913.
Big band as a musical style is from 1926. Slang big head “conceit” is first recorded 1850. Big business “large commercial firms collectively” is 1905; big house “penitentiary” is U.S. underworld slang first attested 1915 (in London, “a workhouse,” 1851). In financial journalism, big ticket items so called from 1956. Big lie is from Hitler’s grosse Lüge.
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
- 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.