immense

adjective

im·​mense i-ˈmen(t)s How to pronounce immense (audio)
1
: marked by greatness especially in size or degree
especially : transcending ordinary means of measurement
the immense universe
2
: supremely good
immenseness noun

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Just how big is something if it is immense? Huge? Colossal? Humongous? Ginormous? Or merely enormous? Immense is often used as a synonym of all of the above and, as such, can simply function as yet another way for English speakers to say "really, really, really big." Immense is also used, however, in a sense which goes beyond merely really, really, really big to describe something that is so great in size or degree that it transcends ordinary means of measurement. This sense harks back to the original sense of immense for something which is so tremendously big that it has not been or cannot be measured. This sense reflects the word's roots in the Latin immensus, from in- ("un-") and mensus, the past participle of metiri ("to measure").

Choose the Right Synonym for immense

enormous, immense, huge, vast, gigantic, colossal, mammoth mean exceedingly large.

enormous and immense both suggest an exceeding of all ordinary bounds in size or amount or degree, but enormous often adds an implication of abnormality or monstrousness.

an enormous expense
an immense shopping mall

huge commonly suggests an immensity of bulk or amount.

incurred a huge debt

vast usually suggests immensity of extent.

the vast Russian steppes

gigantic stresses the contrast with the size of others of the same kind.

a gigantic sports stadium

colossal applies especially to a human creation of stupendous or incredible dimensions.

a colossal statue of Lincoln

mammoth suggests both hugeness and ponderousness of bulk.

a mammoth boulder

Examples of immense in a Sentence

He inherited an immense fortune. She is an artist of immense talent.
Recent Examples on the Web However, the rewards—personal fulfillment, team success, and organizational impact—are immense. Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio, Forbes, 15 Feb. 2024 The hiring of coordinators Kellen Moore and Vic Fangio to lead the offense and defense, respectively, provides some confidence that Philadelphia can return to being a Super Bowl contender, but the pressure will be immense. C.j. Doon, Baltimore Sun, 12 Feb. 2024 The ensuing fallout from his antisemitic comments was immense. Rishikesh Rajagopalan, CBS News, 10 Feb. 2024 The stakes are immense not only for Buehler, but also for the Dodgers, who are counting on him and other pitchers with disconcerting medical histories such as Tyler Glasnow and James Paxton. Dylan Hernández, Los Angeles Times, 10 Feb. 2024 Momoa is represented by the agency WME, which has more than 30 clients in Super Bowl ads this year, including Tina Fey (Booking.com), John Cena (FanDuel) and halftime performer Usher (who is in two ads: Uber Eats and BMW), showcasing the immense value of recognizable faces to brands. Elizabeth Wagmeister, CNN, 9 Feb. 2024 His humble demeanor belies the immense wealth he’s built over the years. Michael Butler, Miami Herald, 9 Feb. 2024 Thompson is an emotional pillar of the franchise with immense value to draw defenders as an ever-present threat to get hot from 3. Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, 7 Feb. 2024 The buildout will be expensive, but the long-term productivity growth will be immense. Will Daniel, Fortune, 6 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'immense.' 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

Middle English, from Middle French, from Latin immensus immeasurable, from in- + mensus, past participle of metiri to measure — more at measure

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of immense was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near immense

Cite this Entry

“Immense.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/immense. Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

immense

adjective
im·​mense im-ˈen(t)s How to pronounce immense (audio)
: very great in size or amount
especially : not capable of being measured by ordinary means
the immense universe
immensely adverb
immenseness noun
Etymology

from early French immense "immense, huge," from Latin immensus "boundless, too great to be measured," from im-, in- "not" and mensus, past participle of metiri "to measure" — related to dimension, measure

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