\ 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

Nelson, Lesh and Krauss are each expert collaborators, having made big parts of their careers working with other ultra-talented performers, augmenting, supporting, inspiring, and tastefully adding their part. John Adamian,, "Willie Nelson to helm Outlaw Music Festival, with Alison Krauss and Phil Lesh, at Xfinity," 7 June 2019 Digging History Deception played a big part in the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. Fox News, "D-Day's ingenious tactics in pictures: From inflatable tanks to 'ghost' soldiers," 7 June 2019 The nuance of millions of years of evolution plays out in elaborate works of art, digital displays, tiny dioramas, molds, models and detailed fossils big and small. Rachael Lallensack, Smithsonian, "Here Are 12 Things You Might Miss in the Smithsonian’s New Fossil Hall," 7 June 2019 Shacks at Austin Ranch 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. Dallas News, "Dog About Town: Parties in the park and on the patio and more things to do," 7 June 2019 And the Bay Area is a big part of your best options. Jackie Burrell, The Mercury News, "7 killer SF Bay Area things to do this weekend, June 7-9," 6 June 2019 The blockbusters are all there; as the most populous county in the United States, Los Angeles is a big part of what made them bestsellers in the first place. Maria L. La Ganga,, "What's L.A. reading? Our habits are as diverse as the city itself," 6 June 2019 Celeste came to terms with their relationship, and eventually learned to stand up for herself through a series of riveting sessions with her therapist (Robin Weigert), who plays a big part in helping Celeste unpack her grief this go-round. Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY, "Everything we know about 'Big Little Lies' Season 2, from Meryl Streep to Amabella," 6 June 2019 Now Weber plays funk and jazz with his friends and said music is a big part of his life. Matt Tunseth, Anchorage Daily News, "Eagle River’s only music store is going out of business after 25 years," 5 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

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 Those four big busy drugstores, last year, according to the DEA wrote 1.3 million prescriptions, 1.3 million pills, opioid pills were prescribed by those four drugstores in that tiny town of Celina, Tennessee. Fox News, "The life and legacy of Sen. John McCain," 28 Aug. 2018 To adapt, Riggio said that Barnes & Noble would close big, underperforming stores and open smaller ones in more highly trafficked areas. Tiffany Hsu, The Seattle Times, "Barnes & Noble struggles to survive; founder is confident of turnaround," 28 Aug. 2018 The medical device sector did not take as big a hit as anticipated from the Trump Administration's 25 percent tariffs on $34 billion in Chinese goods that went into effect Friday, part of President Trump's plan to equalize global trade polices. Mike Snider, USA TODAY, "Pacemakers, ultrasound gear costs could rise from China trade tariffs," 7 July 2018 Syrkin came up big all season, with the Rose Bowl Aquatics product winning the 50 free (21:59) and 100 butterfly (51.31) in the team’s matchup at defending two-time Rio Hondo League champion San Marino on April 5. Andrew J. Campa,, "All-Area Boys’ Swimmer of the Year: Syrkin uses setback to fuel monster season," 14 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 Since 2015, Divac has drafted at least one big in each draft. Jason Jones, sacbee, "Kings expected to draft Marvin Bagley, sources say. Here's why they like him at No. 2," 21 June 2018 Expect some lobs from one big to another, along with some heady high-low feeds after forcing the defense to commit. Rob Mahoney,, "How Will Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond Fit Together in Detroit?," 1 Feb. 2018 This upcoming week feels like the last big back to school push from retailers. Cameron Faulkner, The Verge, "Discounted MacBook Pros, Amazon devices, and a GTX 1080 Ti bundle are this week’s best deals," 18 Aug. 2018 Republicans have one big, winning story to tell—if the fun-house mirrors don’t crack in the next three months. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "The GOP’s Hall of Mirrors," 1 Aug. 2018 Largely Google, Amazon, Facebook, all the bigs were not listening in on you per se? Eric Johnson, Recode, "Your phone is not secretly spying on your conversations. It doesn’t need to.," 20 July 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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Finance Words Quiz

  • a-piggy-bank
  • The etymology of mortgage is related most closely to which two words?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!