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

Example Sentences

He inherited an immense fortune. She is an artist of immense talent.
Recent Examples on the Web Although solar energy is immense, its variations are tiny. Howard Lee, Ars Technica, 15 Mar. 2023 The dangers involved for people attempting to reach the U.S on small boats are immense, Spitler said. John Bacon, USA TODAY, 12 Mar. 2023 For Cohasset, junior captain Sarah Chenette was immense, with 18 of her game-high 32 points coming after halftime. Ethan Fuller,, 10 Mar. 2023 By early Friday afternoon, the scale of the flooding was already immense. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, 10 Mar. 2023 Despite its small size, the project will still deliver immense benefits. Lisa Murkowski, CNN, 8 Mar. 2023 Even when users successfully block their harassers, the ongoing mental health impact of seeing a deluge of attacks is immense; in other words, the damage is already done. Gina Neff Rumman Chowdhury, WIRED, 28 Feb. 2023 The room for growth is immense, and maybe with the right guys in place, the secondary can take strides in 2023. Dallas News, 23 Feb. 2023 The pressure for the Arizona factory to succeed is immense. Paul Mozur, New York Times, 22 Feb. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'immense.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


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


Dictionary Entries Near immense

Cite this Entry

“Immense.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


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

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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