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

Definition of big

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a obsolete : of great strength Sir Launcelot was big and strong again.— Thomas Malory
b : of great force a big storm
2a : 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
3a : 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
4a : chief, preeminent the big issue of the campaign
b : outstandingly worthy or able a truly big man
c : of great importance or significance the big moment
d : imposing, pretentious using big words also : marked by or given to boasting big talk
e : magnanimous, generous was big about it
5 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
6a : 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
7 : popular soft drinks are very big in Mexico— Russ Leadabrand
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)

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


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.


He talks big about his plans, but he hasn't done much yet.


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

Play Ball Park, one of the biggest attractions surrounding the event, opens to the public today and will last through the All-Star Game on July 9. Hannah Drown,, "See ceremonial first pitch, reporter Hannah Drown zipline MLB All-Star Game’s Play Ball Park on Facebook Live this morning," 5 July 2019 Negotiations resumed earlier this week after tens of thousands of demonstrators flooded the streets of Sudan's main cities over the weekend in the biggest show of numbers since the razing of the protesters' sit-in camp. Author: Fay Abuelgasim, Noha Elhennawy, Anchorage Daily News, "Sudan’s protest leaders reach power-sharing deal with military," 5 July 2019 Samsung is the world's biggest seller of smartphones. Sherisse Pham, CNN, "Samsung warns of profit slump as memory chips and smartphones struggle," 5 July 2019 My biggest impression is simply how much the dominant candidates agree in terms of basic values: There was a lot of sympathy for vulnerable groups that can and should be helped by direct political action. Tyler Cowen, Twin Cities, "Tyler Cowen: Marianne Williamson is just what the Democratic Party needs," 5 July 2019 India does not have the natural resources to produce these cells, whose biggest exporter is its neighbour China. Kuwar Singh, Quartz India, "Incentives announced in India’s union budget may not do much for electric vehicles," 5 July 2019 God or the vaccine or something even bigger intervened. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "The Airplanes That Rescue Ebola Patients," 5 July 2019 Shacks Dining & Dog Park: The dog-friendly patios of Dirty Burger, OMG Tacos, Tackle Box, Ten Ramen, Turbo -- Kitchen Coffee Wine and Grrrowler's Tap Room and Beer Garden overlook off-leash areas for big and small dogs. Tatia Woldt, Dallas News, "Dog About Town: Taking your pooch to a play and more things to do," 5 July 2019 But the biggest help would be to put some type of edging into the ground to keep it from getting past your property line. Neil Sperry,, "When mondo grass attacks, put up a wall," 5 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Go big at The Santiago, which has the largest swimming pool of any Palm Springs gay resort, at an expansive 20 feet by 50 feet. Stepfanie Romine, USA TODAY, "7 reasons why the summer season is the best time to visit Palm Springs," 4 June 2019 Goalkeeper Matthew Cardone, a former MacArthur and Trinity standout, came up big by stopping a penalty kick from OKC’s Deshorn Brown in the 16th minute. Terrence Thomas,, "Late goal helps SAFC snap road woes," 17 June 2019 An errant drive led to another bogey at 13, but Kuchar came up big on the two par 5s on the back nine. Josh Dubow,, "After contentious start to year, Matt Kuchar in contention at US Open," 14 June 2019 Apollo's photo deal: Private equity firm Apollo Global Management is going big on online photos. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "Global stocks rally; Apollo's photo deal; E3 begins," 11 June 2019 Returns have actually been rather good—funds have made 8% per year since the 1980s—but protesters complain that managers have taken too big a cut (administration costs 1.25% of salaries). The Economist, "Chile tinkers with its ground-breaking pensions system," 8 June 2019 The 2019 CMT Awards, hosted by Little Big Town, aired live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, June 5 at 8 p.m. ET Country’s biggest stars came up big at the CMT Music Awards! Karen Mizoguchi,, "2019 CMT Music Awards: See the Complete Winners List," 5 June 2019 Norwegian Cruise Line is going big in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Gene Sloan, USA TODAY, "Norwegian Epic to become largest cruise ship sailing from San Juan," 23 Jan. 2018 The Post Oak Hotel at Uptown Houston, HoustonTexas knows how to go big: This 38-floor hotel has seven restaurants, a three-story glass lobby, and 250 rooms with chandeliers in their marble bathrooms. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "Hotel Report: Where Our Editors Are Staying Now," 17 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

This is a team that badly needs bodies: guards to fill out the rotation, creators to relieve LeBron James, bigs to protect Anthony Davis from playing too many high-leverage minutes. Rob Mahoney,, "Waiting for Kawhi Leonard's Decision Leaves Lakers' With Dangerous But Strange Roster," 6 July 2019 Offering discounts on furniture, mattresses, decor, electronics, and more, here's where to save big this July Fourth. Brittney Morgan, House Beautiful, "Here's Where to Find the Best 4th of July Sales This Year," 26 June 2019 The Toronto Raptors selected Hernandez, Miami’s rangy 6-foot-11 big that the NCAA ruled ineligible for his entire junior season of college basketball due to dealings with an agent, with pick No. David Furones,, "After losing final college basketball season, Miami’s Dewan Hernandez selected by Toronto Raptors in NBA draft," 21 June 2019 At issue: Right-hander Jairo Diaz, called up to the bigs May 22, has helped stabilize the bullpen amid an array of injuries. Kyle Newman, The Denver Post, "After homestand ends in disaster, Rockies must rise from the mat for nine-game divisional road trip," 17 June 2019 With Kevon Looney sidelined, the Warriors need a small-ball big who can switch off ball-screens to defend guards. Connor Letourneau,, "Warriors mailbag: What will Golden State do if Klay Thompson misses Game 3?," 5 June 2019 Andrew Bogut had slightly more success than Cousins against Toronto’s bigs. Rusty Simmons,, "Warriors struggle at center with Kevon Looney sidelined in Game 3," 6 June 2019 Building a majority that big required winning over Dems who represent the oil industry. David Roberts, Vox, "California’s cap-and-trade system may be too weak to do its job," 12 Dec. 2018 Current bigs Milwaukee's trio of bigs, John Henson, Thon Maker and Tyler Zeller, are all under contract for next season. Matt Velazquez, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Milwaukee needs a physical presence inside, but this draft may not be the place to find it," 17 June 2018

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 1a


1568, in the meaning defined at sense 1


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

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for big



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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with big

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for 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).


to form ideas or theories about something

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Bee Cubed

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!