\ ˈbig How to pronounce big (audio) \
bigger; biggest

Definition of big

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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
2a : 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
3a : 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
6a : of great force a big storm
b obsolete : of great strength Sir Launcelot was big and strong again.— Thomas Malory
7a : 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
big on
: strongly favoring or liking also : noted for she is big on blushing — Arnold Hano



Definition of big (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : 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



Definition of big (Entry 3 of 3)

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from big


bigly adverb
bigness noun

Examples of big in a Sentence

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 when a candidate is running for president, he's playing in the bigs and cannot afford to make major mistakes
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Marco Reus was in top form in the win over Leverkusen and scored twice, though the more defensive force of Manuel Akanji, Achraf Hakimi and Thomas Delaney also had big impacts. Si Wire, SI.com, "Borussia Dortmund vs. Barcelona Live Stream: Watch UEFA Champions League Online, TV," 17 Sep. 2019 Gorka said New Mexico is a big part of that strategy, as are Minnesota, New Hampshire and Nevada. Fox News, "Trump, on offensive, hosts New Mexico rally, aiming to turn the state red," 17 Sep. 2019 Keep in mind that years with zero income will have a big impact on the average earnings calculation. San Diego Union-Tribune, "17 ways to get more from Social Security," 16 Sep. 2019 Climate change is warming the waters of the Great Lakes and other lakes and rivers in the region — a big concern to scientists and fisheries managers, as few animals are more sensitive to temperature than fish. Keith Matheny, Freep.com, "Climate change transforming where fish in the Great Lakes region live," 16 Sep. 2019 Some experts say the bigger concern is how to keep nurturing U.S. innovation. The Christian Science Monitor, "the viability of centrism in U.S. politics," 16 Sep. 2019 But could the bigger impact could be how Hurts’ mindset influences his new team? George Schroeder, USA TODAY, "Football Four Playoff Projection: Clemson, LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma plus Georgia, Ohio State," 15 Sep. 2019 Since 1980, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data show extreme weather events are starting to pile up with big impacts on people and property. Dante Chinni, NBC News, "Extreme weather events (and the costs) are piling up," 15 Sep. 2019 Bond-buying by desperate Japanese banks and insurance companies is a big part of what keeps a lid on yields elsewhere. The Economist, "How rock-bottom bond yields spread from Japan to the rest of the world," 14 Sep. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Bourne came up big in the 49ers’ 27-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings in a Divisional Round playoff Saturday. oregonlive, "NFL Playoffs 2020: Former Oregon prep star Kendrick Bourne is ‘fun to be around’ on the San Francisco 49ers," 18 Jan. 2020 Booker and Oubre once again carried the offense, but Baynes came up big particularly in the fourth. Duane Rankin, azcentral, "Devin Booker, Kelly Oubre Jr. lead Phoenix Suns' comeback win over New York Knicks," 3 Jan. 2020 Finishing with 27 points, Lillard got plenty of help from CJ McCollum, who scored a game-high 30, and Carmelo Anthony, who added 23 in going 4-of-6 from 3, but the Trail Blazers' best player came up big in the end. Duane Rankin, azcentral, "Suns squander lead to Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers without Devin Booker again," 16 Dec. 2019 My Stock Market gains must be judged from the day after the Election, November 9, 2016, where the Market went up big after the win, and because of the win. NBC News, "Trade and tariffs: What President Trump says versus what economists know," 26 Aug. 2019 Coming back out of the timeout, Miller came up big once again, intercepting a pass and running it back 20 yards. Gary Curreri, sun-sentinel.com, "St. Vincent Ferrer Vikings win third straight flag football title," 27 Nov. 2019 The Falcons’ defense came up big in the second quarter to help Winters Mill jump out to a slim lead. Eric Bem, baltimoresun.com/maryland/carroll, "Football: Costley leads Man Valley past Winters Mill," 25 Oct. 2019 Others came up big after Thielen went down, including Stefon Diggs, who had seven catches for 142 yards. Chris Tomasson, Twin Cities, "Vikings’ offense lights up Lions in 42-30 victory," 20 Oct. 2019 Birmingham’s defense came up big in the crucial game, with the Battery getting just one shot on goal. al, "Legion FC plays to scoreless tie vs. Charleston Battery," 6 Oct. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Jordan Murphy was one of the best in getting your bigs in foul trouble. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Gophers men’s basketball face big challenge in Ohio State on Sunday," 14 Dec. 2019 Defense: Two big plays allowed The Lions entered averaging 360.9 yards of offense, but were held to 191 by the Broncos and 143 came on two possessions. Ryan O’halloran, The Denver Post, "Broncos Status Report: Finally, a come-from-behind victory," 22 Dec. 2019 His one big throw changed the momentum and that was enough. Will Graves, baltimoresun.com, "Duck or Rudolph? Steelers facing improbable QB debate," 25 Nov. 2019 There are also several big shows already set for next year, including Chance the Rapper, Celine Dion and Kenny Chesney. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "All the concerts you must see by the end of the year (and beyond)," 5 Nov. 2019 Our bigs have been known to be able to shoot the ball and stretch the floor. Jeff Potrykus, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "The Big Ten's men's basketball preseason honors list is out. Find any Badgers yet?," 2 Oct. 2019 Vegas posted the best defense in the league by defensive rating and have a litany of versatile wings, big guards and talented bigs to stifle Chicago. Kellen Becoats, SI.com, "Diamond Shines and the Storm Surge: Lessons From the WNBA's First Round," 12 Sep. 2019 Henson protects the interior well, and Nance is the most versatile member, being able to defend guards, wings and bigs. cleveland, "Despite another disappointing loss, Cavaliers find a silver lining in energetic second-team performance," 12 Dec. 2019 But, with Phoenix adding sharpshooting rookie Cam Johnson and bigs Dario Saric and Aron Baynes, who both have range, Bridges is now taking 1.7 3s per game and making 30.8%. Duane Rankin, azcentral, "Phoenix Suns: Mikal Bridges keeps finding new ways to impact games," 11 Dec. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of big


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


1568, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1833, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for big

Adjective, Adverb, and Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about big

Time Traveler for big

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for big

Last Updated

27 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Big.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/big. Accessed 28 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for big

How to pronounce big (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of big

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: large in size
: large in number or amount
: involving or including many people, things, etc.



English Language Learners Definition of big (Entry 2 of 2)

: in a big way
: in a way that is meant to impress people
\ ˈbig How to pronounce big (audio) \
bigger; biggest

Kids Definition of big

1 : large in size a big house a big man
2 : large in number or amount a big group
3 : of great importance big news
4 : of great strength or force a big storm

Other Words from big

bigness noun

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on big

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for big

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with big

Spanish Central: Translation of big

Nglish: Translation of big for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of big for Arabic Speakers

Comments on big

What made you want to look up big? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!