\ ˈbig How to pronounce big (audio) \
bigger; biggest

Definition of big

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : 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
2a : 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
3a : 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
6a : of great force a big storm
b obsolete : of great strength Sir Launcelot was big and strong again.— Thomas Malory
7a : 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
big on
: strongly favoring or liking also : noted for she is big on blushing — Arnold Hano



Definition of big (Entry 2 of 3)

1a : 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



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

But if organoids grown from human stem cells start to get bigger than that, then the question that was posed back in 2013 becomes pressing. The Economist, "Cerebral organoids are becoming more brainlike," 31 Aug. 2019 There’s Shiner Bock on draft, margaritas and mixed drinks and a big playground out back. Mike Sutter,, "52 Weeks of Burgers: Beefy’s on the Green," 30 Aug. 2019 Everything is a big question mark on this team, including how this group will handle the adversity of a challenging rebuilding season. Keven Lerner,, "Sun Sentinel staff predictions for the 2019 Miami Dolphins," 30 Aug. 2019 The opening of 2M Smokehouse in 2016 heralded that San Antonio had arrived to join the big BBQ show. San Antonio Express-News, "52 Weeks of BBQ: Naming the best of the best San Antonio barbecue," 30 Aug. 2019 One group that has felt the biggest impact is women without a college degree. Aimee Picchi, CBS News, "Billionaire Jack Ma, booster of 12-hour days, now says AI will allow 12-hour weeks," 30 Aug. 2019 And while California is a critical market for these companies—especially for Lyft, which only operates in North America—the bigger fear is almost existential: that this type of employer reclassification legislation might spread to other US states. Wired, "A California Bill Has Uber and Lyft Running Scared," 30 Aug. 2019 Cronin watched the game on his backyard big-screen television in Encino after attending Bruins’ football practice earlier in the week. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, "UCLA feels the absence of several key players in loss to Cincinnati," 29 Aug. 2019 From cable to big-screen TVs to streaming, advances in home media are often understood as threats to the cinema. Judy Berman, Time, "Disney Has Reshaped the Movie Industry. Will Disney+ Do the Same for Television?," 29 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

But Jeremy Ebobisse and Brian Fernandez both came up big in the waning minutes of Saturday’s match to hand the Timbers (13-11-4, 43 points) a huge 2-1 win over Kansas City (10-11-8, 37 points) in front of 25,218 fans at Providence Park. Jamie Goldberg, oregonlive, "Portland Timbers fight back to earn massive 2-1 win over Sporting Kansas City," 7 Sep. 2019 Last week was no different, as Turner came up big on various occasions to keep a goal-hungry Chicago at bay. Dan Shulman,, "Revolution’s keys to victory over Toronto," 30 Aug. 2019 Vérité Vérité 2015 La Joie, Sonoma County: Go big and then go home after drinking this structured but enveloping splurge this summer. Rachel King, Fortune, "How to Drink Red Wine During the Hot, Hot Summer," 10 Aug. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Other bigs could relieve Ibaka on his rougher nights. Rob Mahoney,, "Top 100 NBA Players of 2020," 12 Sep. 2019 Two big plays stood out: — On the first snap of the second drive, Sutton lined up in the slot left of quarterback Joe Flacco and caught the football at Denver’s 33-yard line. Kyle Fredrickson, The Denver Post, "Broncos’ Courtland Sutton showcases new range in breakout NFL performance," 12 Sep. 2019 Though Auburn topped 200 rushing yards, with JaTarvious Whitlow gaining 110 on 24 carries, nearly half came on four big runs. oregonlive, "Andy Avalos’ strong debut as Oregon defensive coordinator all for naught in loss to Auburn," 1 Sep. 2019 If the Mustangs’ young skill position players mature quickly, the line is experienced and big led by 6-8, 240-pound Rachow. Steve Brand, San Diego Union-Tribune, "2019 Metro Mesa League prep football preview," 13 Aug. 2019 In the waning moments of the 2009 W.N.B.A. finals, with Tamika Catchings and the Indiana Fever on the ropes, Pondexter saw a gap between her defender and the two other bigs who came to help. Howard Megdal, New York Times, "Cappie Pondexter, Retired From the W.N.B.A., Has ‘Never Been So Alive’," 15 July 2019 This group would resemble Calipari’s preferred lineups of the past with two bigs on the court, including Richards, the closest to a traditional center on the roster. Jon Hale, The Courier-Journal, "Calipari has no shortage of options for picking Kentucky's starting lineup next season," 2 July 2019 Now he’s driving the ball and hitting for average and getting on base and driving in big runs. Julian Benbow,, "Chris Sale can’t seem to win at Fenway," 26 June 2019 Burroughs trailed, 8-5, midway in the first half, as Canyon’s two bigs, Okafor and Collins, made their way under the post to score. Vincent Nguyen,, "Burroughs girls' basketball stays aggressive in win against Canyon," 11 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.

See More

First Known Use of big


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


1568, in the meaning defined at sense 2


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).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


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!