big

1 of 3

adjective

bigger; biggest
1
a
: 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
2
a
: 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
3
a
: chief, preeminent
the big issue of the campaign
b
: of great importance or significance
the big moment
c
: magnanimous, generous
was big about it
d
: outstandingly worthy or able
a truly big man
e
: imposing, pretentious
using big words
also : marked by or given to boasting
big talk
4
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
5
: popular
soft drinks are very big in MexicoRuss Leadabrand
6
a
: of great force
a big storm
b
obsolete : of great strength
Sir Launcelot was big and strong again.Thomas Malory
7
a
: 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
8
: full-bodied and flavorful
used of wine
bigly adverb
bigness noun

big

2 of 3

adverb

1
a
: to a large amount or extent
won big
b
: on a large scale
think big
2
: in a loud or declamatory manner
also : in a boasting manner
talk big
3
: hard
hits her forehand big

big

3 of 3

noun

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
Phrases
big on
: strongly favoring or liking
also : noted for
she is big on blushing Arnold Hano

Examples of big in a Sentence

Adjective 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. Adverb He talks big about his plans, but he hasn't done much yet. Noun with that new promotion he's now one of the bigs in the company the big story that year was the election of the president
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
He’s mastered a distinctive range, too, collaborating with Latin music’s biggest stars — Kali Uchis, Karol G and Becky G, just to name a few — and along the way, has represented the recent increase of regional Mexican music’s popularity in the United States and other parts of the world. Thania Garcia, Variety, 13 Apr. 2024 The week’s biggest stories O.J. Simpson dies O.J. Simpson, whose murder trial riveted and divided the world, dies at 76. Defne Karabatur, Los Angeles Times, 13 Apr. 2024 The biggest hit of his career, Combs' take is pretty straightforward, letting Chapman's beautiful lyrics and melodies lead the way. Journal Sentinel, 13 Apr. 2024 But Take Note This can be a messy activity, so be sure to let your little explorer dig out their dinosaurs outdoors or over a big trash bag for easy cleanup. Ashley Ziegler, Parents, 13 Apr. 2024 In fact, across her nine studio albums, Del Rey has seemingly become even more herself, taking bigger experimental swings and offering longer, more eyebrow-raising track titles along the way. Lyndsey Havens, Billboard, 13 Apr. 2024 Widely considered one of the biggest achievements in European medieval engineering, the pedestrian bridge spans the Arno River with colorful buildings that house dozens of jewelry shops jutting out of its sides. Barbie Latza Nadeau, CNN, 12 Apr. 2024 Places like us, and some of the other big children's hospitals still do well, but the smaller places are not filling all the places. Sharon Coolidge, The Enquirer, 2 Apr. 2024 With the threat of third parties potentially siphoning votes, there's a need for the Biden campaign to spend big to try to bring all of his 2020 voters back into the fold. Domenico Montanaro, NPR, 1 Apr. 2024
Adverb
Horne also came up big in Arizona State’s lone tournament game, crossing over defender Rondel Walker to create some space and then burying a straightaway 3-pointer to tie the game with 15.6 seconds left and finishing with a team-high 17 points in a narrow loss to TCU. NBC News, 7 Apr. 2024 Timberlake, one of the seven KU seniors honored pregame, hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the second half to put Kansas up big over rival Kansas State. Shreyas Laddha, Kansas City Star, 6 Mar. 2024 These adjustments to the current profession can pay off big in the long-term, increasing your expertise and improving your skill set in your field. Ryan Derousseau, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 The sophomore guard has consistently come up big down the stretch. Jason Williams, The Enquirer, 31 Jan. 2024 Coach Andy Reid remains at the helm and star tight end Travis Kelce has come up big in the playoffs for Kansas City once again, breaking the NFL record for postseason catches in the process. Ayrton Ostly, USA TODAY, 8 Feb. 2024 Purdy found Kittle on a gutsy fourth-down play, and then Jennings came up big again. Danny Emerman, The Mercury News, 12 Feb. 2024 What might be most impressive is his ability to come up big in big moments. Christopher Kuhagen, Journal Sentinel, 8 Jan. 2024 Earlier this year, Club Chalamet broke big over photos of Chalamet and Kylie Jenner at the Renaissance tour. Fran Hoepfner, Vulture, 4 Dec. 2023
Noun
His goal is to lock down the other team’s best guard and be able to switch onto bigs with ease. Shreyas Laddha, Kansas City Star, 2 Apr. 2024 And now injuries have hit and ravaged his roster, including both bigs (Eduardo Andre and Enoch Boakye) and guard Donovan Yap. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 Feb. 2024 In that situation, the weakside wing is charged with dropping and blocking out the big. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Mar. 2024 Bucks head coach Doc Rivers, who took over the job when Milwaukee’s brass decided to fire Adrian Griffin with a 30-13 record, has been around a few talented and dominant bigs throughout his NBA career. Shane Young, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 This will be billed as a battle of the sophomore bigs with OSU’s Raegan Beers (18.2 points, 11.1 rebounds) taking on UCLA’s Lauren Betts (15.0 points, 8.6 rebounds), but guards will likely be the game-changers in this matchup. USA TODAY, 16 Feb. 2024 Still, the Pacers got plenty of production from their own bigs, and that kept them within striking distance. Dustin Dopirak, The Indianapolis Star, 14 Jan. 2024 Then three starters got hurt, including both bigs, and a key rotation piece flew to the Dominican Republic for a funeral. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, 26 Feb. 2024 State's starting bigs of River Baldwin and Mimi Collins combined for six points on 1-for-11 shooting with eight rebounds, a boards total matched by the 5-foot-6 Amoore as well as 6-5 freshman center Clara Strack. Aaron Beard, USA TODAY, 9 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'big.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Adjective, Adverb, and Noun

Middle English, perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Norwegian dialect bugge important man

First Known Use

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 6b

Adverb

1568, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Noun

1833, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of big was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near big

Cite this Entry

“Big.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/big. Accessed 17 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

big

1 of 2 adjective
bigger; biggest
1
: of great force
a big storm
2
a
: large in size, bulk, or extent
a big house
big government
a big city
b
: large in number or amount
a big fleet
big money
c
: capital entry 1 sense 2
big letters
3
: of great importance
my big chance
a big star in movies
4
: being older
my big sister
bigness noun

big

2 of 2 adverb
1
: in a big way
win big
2
: so as to boast
talk big

More from Merriam-Webster on big

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