\ 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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

That’s 11 times bigger than the initial $10,000 reward offered by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Peggy O’hare,, "Families, authorities hope dramatic boost in reward solves mystery of deadly San Marcos fire," 2 Aug. 2019 The fact is that the racial injustice in the Boston Public Schools is bigger than anything occurring at Latin School. Jim Stergios,, "Tackling equity at Boston’s exam schools," 2 Aug. 2019 This is so much bigger than a telescope being built. Fox News, "Jason Momoa, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson defend Mauna Kea protesters," 1 Aug. 2019 Perry herself was hit for just over $550,000, with Capitol Records responsible for the biggest part of the award — $1.2 million. Andrew Dalton, Fortune, "Katy Perry, Record Label," 1 Aug. 2019 Levin, who has endorsed Warren for president, added that the stakes are bigger than just the 2020 election. Mark K. Matthews, Scientific American, "Democratic Hopefuls Clash on Climate Action During Debate," 31 July 2019 There’s inspiration, lots of emotion, and a powerful positivity that seems to come from something bigger than all of us. Krystyna Chávez, Marie Claire, "The Decade of Lizzo Is Just Getting Started," 30 July 2019 Our hope for the project is much bigger than a newsletter., "Subscribe to The Flyover – 2020 political coverage from the all-important heartland," 30 July 2019 Both the Falcon Heavy and the earlier generation Falcon 9 are much bigger than the Hyperbola-1. Echo Huang, Quartz, "Watch: This Chinese rocket’s payload included a model SUV made by its sponsor," 30 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

In his talent spotting career, Ujiri has scouted some of the best and most talented NBA players such as Cameroonian Pascal Siakam, who came up big in the final game for the Raptors with 26 points and 10 rebounds. Amanda Sealy, CNN, "Masai Ujiri: Why Toronto Raptor's president sees promise in Africa," 28 June 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Fincher has teased one big, new difference though: the music. Lauren Huff,, "Everything we know about Mindhunter season 2 so far," 26 July 2019 John Means, the unheralded member of a pairing between him and Bubba Starling, became a major leaguer and an All-Star before Starling even reached the bigs. Nathan Ruiz,, "Orioles’ John Means settles in for second half after ‘surreal’ All-Star experience," 12 July 2019 Our bigs are still learning how to play well and it’s fun. Vincent Nguyen,, "Glendale girls' basketball holds off Hart to register summer league victory," 26 June 2019 Three bigs aren't too many for a 15-man roster as long as those players aren't all one-dimensional. J. Michael, Indianapolis Star, "Insider: Consensus opinion around NBA is Pacers made right call taking Goga Bitadze," 16 July 2019 Hayes, like most 19-year-old bigs, needs to improve his strength to impact games on the NBA level. Ben Golliver, The Denver Post, "Zion Williamson hardly played, but these rookies stood out at NBA Summer League," 15 July 2019 Over the years the field has seen hundreds of Major Leaguers, including more than 120 Oilers alumni who made it to the bigs, including Cy Young Award winner Frank Viola and six-time Gold Glove winner JT Snow. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "Alaska’s ballparks: Kenai’s Seymour Park has a gritty look and a glittery history," 9 July 2019 Now, Louis Vuitton is taking the logical next step, in our Instagram environment era: showcasing these collaborations in one big, immersive exhibition, open to the public and free of charge. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Louis Vuitton Opens Massive Fashion Exhibition in L.A.," 28 June 2019 Straight from AZ State to the bigs, very dependable mid-rotation pitcher. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc's Morning Line: I don't like the NFL Draft. Here's why the MLB Draft is even worse.," 4 June 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.

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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

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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

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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).


a period when something is suspended

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