\ ˈbig-ˌtīm How to pronounce big-time (audio) \

Definition of big-time

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: relating to or involved in the big time big-time sports also : major sense 4 big-time operators



Definition of big-time (Entry 2 of 3)

: in a major or large-scale way the new show bombed big-time also : to a great extent or degree owes me big-time

big time

\ -ˌtīm How to pronounce big time (audio) \

Definition of big time (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : a high-paying vaudeville circuit requiring only two performances a day
2 : the top rank of an activity or enterprise

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Other Words from big-time


big-timer \ ˈbig-​ˌtī-​mər How to pronounce big-timer (audio) \ noun

Examples of big-time in a Sentence


the young ad execs knew that their agency had hit the big time when major corporations came calling

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Clark has come up big time and again for the Timbers this season. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, "Portland Timbers vs. Sporting Kansas City: Players to watch, TV channel, how to watch live stream online," 6 Sep. 2019 Tracking down your documents can be a big time suck, and sometimes safety is a higher priority. Anna Borges, SELF, "Here’s How to Make Sure You’re Up to Date on All Your Vaccines," 26 Aug. 2019 In other words, the prescription balloon expanded, under the DEA’s watch, big time. Zachary Siegel, The New Republic, "The Opioid Crisis Is About More Than Corporate Greed," 30 July 2019 Moore and Stanley will both need to step up big time on the wing offensively to provide a scoring punch for the once again rebuilding Blue Devils. Emily Caron,, "Wendell Moore's Development Will Be Crucial to a Reloaded Duke Team," 5 Aug. 2019 Colorado needs to elevate its play big time in the second half in order to emerge from a large cluster of competing teams for one of two wild-card spots. Joe Nguyen, The Denver Post, "Rockies Insider: Entering second half, odds stacked against another Rocktober amid crowded wild card race," 11 July 2019 Further Reading As HBO and Turner bosses quit, AT&T announces big Time Warner reorganization Since the HBO Max exclusives pertain only to streaming rights, the shows could still be available on cable TV services. Jon Brodkin, Ars Technica, "AT&T takes some Time Warner shows off Netflix, makes them exclusive to HBO Max," 9 July 2019 For patients, finding a way to identify with their pharmacist can pay off big time. NBC News, "How black pharmacists are closing the cultural gap in health care," 25 June 2019 Doctor Music organizers sought to bring the festival back big time, with a powerful and eclectic line-up that also included Rosalía, James Murphy, Kamasi Washington, Jimmy Cliff and The Good, The Bad & The Queen. Judy Cantor-navas, Billboard, "Doctor Music Festival Canceled After Move From Mountain Pastures to Barcelona Racetrack," 14 June 2019

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

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First Known Use of big-time


1910, in the meaning defined above


1957, in the meaning defined above


1910, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for big-time

The first known use of big-time was in 1910

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English Language Learners Definition of big-time

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: relating to or involved in the highest or most successful level of an activity



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

chiefly US, informal : in a big way : very much or very badly

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Comments on big-time

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


one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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