big bad

noun

variants or Big Bad
plural big bads or Big Bads
: a major villain or antagonist (as in a movie, show, or game)
When Ursula, the story's big bad, took to the screen, I would run behind the entertainment center and cover my eyes, a fact my mom loves to remind me about whenever she gets the chance.KT Hawbaker
As the show [Buffy the Vampire Slayer] aged, the Big Bads became more dangerous and the lessons more adult, but Buffy never gave up …Kaitlin Thomas
The Big Bad this time around is the wind mage Vaati, who has captured Zelda, and it's your quest to defeat him and prevent the unholy union of princess and evil eyeball-blob-thing.Tony Ponce

Examples of big bad in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The reveal of the Disney+ Star Wars series’ big bad may not have been a surprise to anyone, but the bloodbath (and biceps) were truly impressive and shocking. Ew Staff Published, EW.com, 28 June 2024 The big bad also effortlessly snapped the neck of Jedi Knight Yord Fandar (Charlie Barnett), killing a second major character in a mere matter of minutes. Dalton Ross, EW.com, 26 June 2024 The campy flick also acts as memorial for three talented actors: Luke Perry as Buffy's cool-guy partner, Rutger Hauer as the main big bad and Paul Reubens as a hilarious bloodsucker. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 4 June 2024 The big basket-o-fire golems seen in the last gameplay trailer are on the move, and Mesmer, the seeming big bad of this DLC, is triumphant. Kevin Purdy, Ars Technica, 21 May 2024 Fan events, activations and immersive experiences are not new to television marketing, but sci-fi and fantasy, with their alternative worlds, life-or-death stakes and big bad villains, have traditionally claimed the biggest share of marketing budgets. Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times, 5 June 2024 Zach Gilford's big bad, who was apprehended by the BAU last season after forming a network of serial killers during the COVID-19 pandemic, is behind bars in Entertainment Weekly's exclusive first look at the upcoming season, premiering with two episodes on June 6 on Paramount+. Jessica Wang, EW.com, 3 May 2024 Yeah, Melody ultimately does an about face and helps bust the big bad ghost with the Ghostbusters of past and present. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 5 Apr. 2024 At a certain point, the big bad guy shows up at a vape shop that shares the nickname of a key protagonist, dispatches with the clerk in a case of mistaken identity …then arrives at the actual protagonist’s house one second later. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 21 Mar. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'big bad.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

2001, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of big bad was in 2001

Dictionary Entries Near big bad

Cite this Entry

“Big bad.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/big%20bad. Accessed 21 Jul. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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