big

1 of 3

adjective

bigger; biggest
1
a
: large or great in dimensions, bulk, or extent
a big house
also : large or great in quantity, number, or amount
a big fleet
b
: operating on a large scale
big government
c
of a letter : capital sense 1
2
a
: filled with or characterized by enthusiasm and interest
I'm a big fan of soy foods but urge you to choose them wisely. Andrew Weil
: active and enthusiastic
My mother is a big baker, and so was my grandmother … Melissa Parks
I'm not a big shopper, so for me to actually like a store is really saying something. Matt Cameron
b
: expressed in an enthusiastic or unrestrained way : hearty
greeted me with a big hug
3
a
: chief, preeminent
the big issue of the campaign
b
: of great importance or significance
the big moment
c
: magnanimous, generous
was big about it
d
: outstandingly worthy or able
a truly big man
e
: imposing, pretentious
using big words
also : marked by or given to boasting
big talk
4
informal : more advanced in age : older
my big brother
: more mature
His teachers all told me he was excited about riding the bus, feeling like a big boy now. Laurie Frey
5
: popular
soft drinks are very big in Mexico Russ Leadabrand
6
a
: of great force
a big storm
b
obsolete : of great strength
Sir Launcelot was big and strong again. Thomas Malory
7
a
: pregnant
especially : nearly ready to give birth
big with child
b
: full to bursting : swelling
big with rage
c
of the voice : full and resonant
8
: full-bodied and flavorful
used of wine
bigly adverb
bigness noun

big

2 of 3

adverb

1
a
: to a large amount or extent
won big
b
: on a large scale
think big
2
: in a loud or declamatory manner
also : in a boasting manner
talk big
3
: hard
hits her forehand big

big

3 of 3

noun

1
: an individual or organization of outstanding importance or power
especially : major league
usually used in plural
playing in the bigs
2
basketball, informal : a big player : a center or forward whose large size and strength are used to control play near the basket
But, the problem is that you MUST have guards. You can't play five bigs. Martin Manley
Phrases
big on
: strongly favoring or liking
also : noted for
she is big on blushing Arnold Hano

Example Sentences

Adjective a big glass of soda She moved to a bigger city. the biggest city in the state He led a big group through the museum. She works for a big company. He organized a big advertising campaign. We had a big fund-raiser for the school. Adverb He talks big about his plans, but he hasn't done much yet. Noun with that new promotion he's now one of the bigs in the company the big story that year was the election of the president See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
John makes big changes at the Capitol and receives some advice from a senator; tensions between Jamie and Beth erupt. Olivia Mccormack, Washington Post, 27 Nov. 2022 From clairvoyant camels to mystic elephants and cryptic rats, a range of animals -- big and small -- have tried their paws, hooves and tentacles at predicting the score line. Emma Ogao, ABC News, 26 Nov. 2022 Drew Timme is one of the top big men in the nation and a potential national player of the year candidate. Scott Sepich For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, 26 Nov. 2022 But everyone else in my family appreciated its powerful throttle, stable three-wheeled configuration, and big capacity. Adrienne So, WIRED, 26 Nov. 2022 RiRi's cult-favorite makeup and skin care lines are coming through with big Cyber Monday savings. Glamour, 26 Nov. 2022 Such a big audience in the second game of the group stage in Qatar bodes well for Fox and U.S. Soccer, both of which need to make use of the World Cup spotlight. Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times, 26 Nov. 2022 Spectators getting a jump on the big event can watch the balloons being inflated on Wednesday afternoon, November 23, on the Upper West Side. Marnie Hunter, CNN, 23 Nov. 2022 Christmas was the big event, and no one wanted to cook on Easter Sunday. Kevin Fisher-paulson, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Nov. 2022
Adverb
Soper, who didn’t get his first start until Week 6 of the regular season, came up big in the passing game for the Warriors, finishing with three passing scores covering 64, 37 and 65 yards to go with his game-tying keeper. Matthew Vantryon, The Indianapolis Star, 28 Oct. 2022 By the numbers: 4 — Gardendale’s defense stepped up big in the second half, stopping the Mountain Brook offense on four straight possessions to help get the Rockets back into the game. Bobby Mathews | Preps@al.com, al, 21 Oct. 2022 Throughout the remainder of the game, both defenses dug in and surrendered minimal gains, until the special teams came up big in the final moments for the Wildcats. Daniel Gibel, cleveland, 21 Oct. 2022 In what was perhaps the most memorable home game in Astros postseason history, Altuve came up big for his team once again. Josh Criswell, Chron, 19 Oct. 2022 The Lakers' defense then came up big, forcing an incomplete pass, a short run and an even shorter pass. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, 15 Oct. 2022 Even with a few companies avoiding the packed exhibit floor, citing COVID concerns, Hollywood is showing up big in different ways with Hall H panels and installations throughout the Gaslamp. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 July 2022 Toledo’s offense started to click, but SDSU’s defense came up big on back-to-back drives. Kirk Kenney, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Sep. 2022 With the game on the line, the Seminoles’ defense came up big in the fourth quarter. Alexis Cubit, The Courier-Journal, 17 Sep. 2022
Noun
The Suns big didn’t even get to the line in Friday’s loss at Orlando. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 13 Nov. 2022 Texas A&M got hit with a flu big that left it playing short-handed against Florida, and the Gators handed the Aggies their fifth straight loss. Ralph D. Russo, ajc, 6 Nov. 2022 All-Big Ten pick last season, Slade may have been overshadowed a big by Jacub Panasiuk. Nathan Baird, cleveland, 4 Oct. 2022 Jaden Ivey is the obvious answer, but Stewart's 3-ball and pick-and-roll defense reveal a reliable modern big in the making. Carlos Monarrez, Detroit Free Press, 18 Oct. 2022 Boston picked up Gallinari as a sharpshooting big who could play multiple positions and supplement their second unit. Gary Washburn, BostonGlobe.com, 11 Oct. 2022 With room on the roster for a floor-spacing big in Williams’ absence, Vonleh is making the most of his chance. Steve Hewitt, Hartford Courant, 9 Oct. 2022 But with the right watch face starting a workout is only one tap, so in most cases that don’t involve life or death or debilitating cold, the action button is a big of overkill. John Koetsier, Forbes, 8 Oct. 2022 Oklahoma will possibly never be this big of an underdog the rest of the season after getting blown out the last two weeks. Joseph Goodman | Jgoodman@al.com, al, 6 Oct. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'big.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective, Adverb, and Noun

Middle English, perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Norwegian dialect bugge important man

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6b

Adverb

1568, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun

1833, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of big was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near big

Cite this Entry

“Big.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/big. Accessed 29 Nov. 2022.

Kids Definition

big 1 of 2

adjective

bigger; biggest
1
: of great force
a big storm
2
a
: large in size, bulk, or extent
a big house
big government
a big city
b
: large in number or amount
a big fleet
big money
c
: capital entry 1 sense 2
big letters
3
: of great importance
my big chance
a big star in movies
4
: being older
my big sister
big on
: very much in favor of : enthusiastic about
is big on stamp collecting
bigness noun

big

2 of 2

adverb

1
: in a big way
win big
2
: so as to boast
talk big

More from Merriam-Webster on big

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