Definition of big tent
: a widely inclusive composition or character that allows people of differing backgrounds, opinions, and interests to be members of a group or organization (such as a political party) … Democratic talk of a big tent was becoming alarmingly familiar as the Party dealt with what amounted to a case of “values” shock—the post-election impression that Democrats keep losing because they have lost touch with mainstream American values. — Peter J. Boyer, New Yorker, 14 Nov. 2005 I feel very comfortable in the Republican tent. It's a big tent. It goes all the way from the right, all the way crossing the center line. — Arnold Schwarzenegger, PBS Newshour, 22 June 2007 We have big arguments within the party because we got a big tent … — Barack Obama, quoted in Rolling Stone, 14 Oct. 2010; also : a group or organization that has a widely inclusive composition or character When the parties were big tents, you had to make deals within your party in order to govern. — William Schneider, CNN, 24 May 2001 … Orthodox Judaism is a big tent that includes both fundamentalists and nonfundamentalists … — Alan Reder, Yoga Journal, July 2001 Irvin and his writers realize that pop music is an awfully big tent, one where greatness can be bestowed not only on the sublime … but on the ridiculous … — Bradley Bambarger, Billboard, 28 July 2001
big–tentadjective … a new big-tent party that could thrive as ethnic and racial minorities become a majority of the electorate. — Nicholas Confessore, New York Times Book Review, 15 Oct. 2006 Thrilled as they may still be with their victory, many Democrats are now realizing that … their future depends on a tricky proposition: actually becoming the centrist, big-tent party they've spent two years claiming to be. — Jonathan Darman et al., Newsweek, 20 Nov. 2006 The label's roster illustrates how country music has become the big-tent genre that rock used to be … — Louis Hau, Billboard, 12 Dec. 2009 Instead, MTV is adopting a big-tent strategy—attempting to practice the musical politics of inclusion by embracing an increasingly wide range of music at the same time. — David Wild, Rolling Stone, 6 Feb. 1997
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First Known Use of big tent
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