by and large
by and large was our Word of the Day on 06/05/2013. Hear the podcast!
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Examples of by and large in a Sentence
by and large, that information is accurate
Did You Know?
By and large is originally a sailing term meaning "alternately close-hauled and not close-hauled." A ship that is sailing "close-hauled" is sailing as directly into the wind as possible (typically within about 45 degrees of the wind). The "by" part of the phrase means "close-hauled." (This "by" also appears in the term full and by, meaning "sailing with all sails full and close to the wind as possible.") "Large," by contrast, refers to a point of sail in which the wind is hitting the boat "abaft the beam," or behind the boat's widest point. A 1669 example of a variant spelling of "by and large" gives us a sense of the range implied: "Thus you see the ship handled in fair weather and foul, by and learge" (S. Sturmy, Mariners Magazine). The suggestion of a wide range carries over into the term's "in general" sense.
First Known Use of by and large
by and large Synonyms
Synonymsaltogether, basically, chiefly, generally, largely, mainly, mostly, overall, predominantly, primarily, principally, substantially
Related Wordsabout, more or less, most, much, near, nearly, next to, nigh, practically, some, virtually, well-nigh; approximately, broadly, plus or minus, roughly; commonly, frequently, generally, normally, ordinarily, typically, usually; incompletely, partially, partly, rather, somewhat
Near Antonymscompletely, entirely, fully, perfectly, thoroughly, totally, wholly; barely, hardly, just, marginally, minimally, scarcely; absolutely, categorically, unqualifiedly
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