\ ˈbig \
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

Meanwhile, shares of department stores and big-box retailers tumbled after data from the Commerce Department showed retail sales declined in December at the fastest pace since 2009. Jessica Menton, WSJ, "Dow Slips After Disappointing Retail Sales," 14 Feb. 2019 The first big purchase was that sofa in the living room; the chocolate leather reminded me of a baseball mitt—which was perfect, because Michael is such a Dodgers fan. Ingrid Abramovitch, ELLE Decor, "A Dream House on the Malibu Coast with Breathtaking Views," 12 Feb. 2019 Talking About His Mistakes in Past Relationships Justin opened up about his biggest problems in his past relationships and even said that he's made some mistakes over the years. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "5 Times Justin Bieber Drops Hints About His Relationship with Selena Gomez in His New Vogue Interview," 7 Feb. 2019 Now, some eagle-nosed shoppers at Target have noticed that the big-box store stocks cleaning supplies that smell just like the Capri Blue candles. Maya Mcdowell, House Beautiful, "Certain Cleaning Supplies From Target Smell Like the Best Anthropologie Candle, Apparently," 1 Feb. 2019 Keeping it as close to your lashes as possible will make your eyes look bigger and more defined, and your lash line will appear fuller and thicker. Blake Bakkila, Good Housekeeping, "How to Apply Eyeliner That's Even, Straight, and Really, Really Pretty," 23 Jan. 2019 Skip the big-box jewelry stores and consider brands like Ceremony, which embraces love of all kinds with its elegant, unconventional signet rings, pavé bands, and solitaires—all of which are gender-neutral and semi-customizable. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "21 of the Most Stunning Unconventional Engagement Rings Under $1,000," 17 Jan. 2019 Single-stream recycling has a big advantage in transportation terms, as well. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Bikes, bowling balls, and the delicate balancing act that is modern recycling," 31 Dec. 2018 The meteoric rise of the architectural and design style has been aided by shows like Mad Men and pushed into homes through big-box retailers like Target. Megan Barber, Curbed, "The 11 best midcentury modern homes of 2018," 26 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

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 Smith was the No. 2 pitcher for the Eagles this year but came up big in the clutch several times in the postseason. James Weber,, "Notre Dame grad Haylee Smith helps University of Southern Indiana to national title," 22 June 2018 Fowler came up big in the Jaguars’ playoff run last season, sacking Patriots quarterback Tom Brady twice. Brad Biggs,, "Bears Q&A: Could Bears trade for Jaguars' Dante Fowler? Will any Bears make the Pro Bowl this year?," 17 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Today, huge numbers of frames sit unsold because traditional production entails big runs, while 3-D printing doesn’t. Daniel Michaels, WSJ, "Design Your Frames: 3-D Printing Comes to Eyewear," 11 Nov. 2018 Bad games for the young bigs Marvin Bagley III and Harry Giles had problems on offense against the Warriors. Jason Jones, sacbee, "How the Kings' Justin Jackson stood out in a California Classic loss to the Warriors," 3 July 2018 At the moment, Jackson is a rim-running big who can occasionally pop out to attempt a three - which is fine - but with more reps, Jackson might transform into a stretch-five and true mismatch nightmare. Matthew Giles,, "Ranking the top 50 prospects in the 2018 NBA draft," 19 June 2018 The Journal's report claims the Galaxy S10 launch should happen sometime in February, and instead of the usual two smartphone models (one big, one small), Samsung will launch three variants of the Galaxy S10 at once. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Samsung reportedly planning five flagship phone models for early 2019," 20 Nov. 2018 Summer League can be a difficult environment for bigs to produce in general, given the mishmash nature of rosters that skew young. Jeremy Woo,, "Rookie Report Cards: The Most Noteworthy Summer League Showings," 11 July 2018 This process is scary and exciting all mixed into one big, crazy ball of emotion. Fresh U, Teen Vogue, "I Applied to 25 Colleges — Here's What I Learned," 25 Sep. 2018 The S9 Plus has the same camera system; same processor; a nearly as-big, just as gorgeous display; and basically the same software experience. Dan Seifert, The Verge, "Samsung Galaxy Note 9 review: more, more, more," 17 Aug. 2018 The Hawks inherit it while betting big on Young, but prop themselves up regardless with a potential second lottery pick in 2019. Jeremy Woo,, "Explaining the Biggest Surprises of the 2018 NBA Draft," 22 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.

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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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Statistics for big

Last Updated

18 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for big

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

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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 \
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

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esteemed in general opinion

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