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 Mexico Russ 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

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Example Sentences

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web
Adjective
Two-run doubles by Yan Gomes and P.J. Higgins, Michael Hermosillo’s RBI double and Nelson Velázquez’s RBI single staked the Cubs to the big early lead. Meghan Montemurro, Chicago Tribune, 15 Sep. 2022 There was the pass that set up a 3-pointer from Plum, who broke out of her shooting slump in a big way Tuesday night. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, 14 Sep. 2022 Gardner says that for some industries, such as manufacturing and retail, edge intelligence is already being deployed in a big way. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, 14 Sep. 2022 Has trouble switching to that mindset when have a big lead and putting young guys in. Stephen Means, cleveland, 13 Sep. 2022 Staff of the office also supported Anderson with donations — and in a big way. Emily Opilo, Baltimore Sun, 13 Sep. 2022 Fashion month returned to New York in a big way, with five-and-a-half-days of in-person runway shows including Gabriela Hearst, Prabal Gurung, LaQuan Smith, Collina Strada and Batsheva, hosted in iconic locations around the city. Jacqui Palumbo, CNN, 13 Sep. 2022 The Houston Texans put together a great three quarters Sunday to build a big lead before falling apart late and settling for a 20-20 tie with the Indianapolis Colts. Kristie Rieken, Chron, 12 Sep. 2022 Actor Patrick Dempsey is changing things up in a big way with his hair color by ditching his signature thick, salt-and-pepper hair in favor of an icy platinum shade. Kara Nesvig, Allure, 12 Sep. 2022
Adverb
The Sea Kings got on the board on a three-yard run from Colin Pene, but the San Clemente special teams group came up big again, blocking the extra point, which kept the Tritons lead at 20-6 with 5:27 left in the third. Devin Ugland, Los Angeles Times, 9 Sep. 2022 Ashman came up big, connecting with receiver Luciano Higgins on an 11-yard gain. Randy Mcroberts, Baltimore Sun, 9 Sep. 2022 Amari Thomas came up big on the next series to shut down the Yellow Jackets. Anton Williams, al, 27 Aug. 2022 The Explorers, however, came up big in stopping Solon’s attempt at a 2-point conversion to preserve the win. cleveland, 23 Aug. 2022 Lake Mary’s defense came up big during a notable 15-14 win vs. Lakeland Lake Gibson. J.c. Carnahan, orlandosentinel.com, 2 Sep. 2021 Santiago came up big down the stretch of the regular season, beating the Orioles with a complete game on Sept. 22 and then stopping the Twins in a must-win Game 161 at Fenway. BostonGlobe.com, 14 Aug. 2021 The Browns' defense came up big without Garrett, getting five sacks and scoring a touchdown and safety in the 22-17 win over the Eagles. Tom Withers, Star Tribune, 23 Nov. 2020 On a day when the Guardians needed a maximum effort from their bullpen, Cleveland relievers came up big. Joe Noga, cleveland, 26 July 2022
Noun
The last hurdle was whether the business culture was willing to address institutional and system challenges and overcome the challenge of a change this big. Patrick Moorhead, Forbes, 11 Aug. 2022 For example, the Shanghai plant managed to substantially increase medical dye production within a few weeks of its closure, so the total supply didn’t take that big of a hit. Kathryn Judge, Fortune, 9 Aug. 2022 The active and physical 6-8 big played a role in the Suns having the NBA’s best record last season. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 2 Sep. 2022 The Suns backup big did the same thing with the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers, but this seems to have gone to another level in Phoenix. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 15 Apr. 2022 Kelly Olynyk is the only other big on the roster with shooting range. Anthony Schulte, Detroit Free Press, 27 July 2022 That big of a jump is unprecedented in modern history. Allison Morrow, CNN, 13 July 2022 So, after taking a big of a Twitter break over the past few weeks, that’s exactly what P!nk did. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 12 July 2022 Phoenix has re-signed backup big Bismack Biyombo, acquired Jock Landale from Atlanta in a trade for cash considerations and has Dario Saric returning from a knee injury that kept him out all last season. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, 11 July 2022 See More

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.

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 26 Sep. 2022.

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Kids Definition

bigger; biggest
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

More from Merriam-Webster on big

Last Updated: 18 Sep 2022

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