African nation, named for the river Niger, mentioned by that name 1520s (Leo Africanus), probably an alteration (by influence of Latin niger "black") of a local Tuareg name, egereou n-igereouen, from egereou "big river, sea" + n-igereouen, plural of that word. Translated in Arabic as nahr al-anhur "river of rivers."
"Russian radical socialist of the revolutionary period," 1917, from Russian bol'shevik (plural bol'sheviki), from bol'shiy "greater," comparative of adjective bol'shoy "big, great" (as in Bolshoi Ballet), from Old Church Slavonic boljiji "larger," from PIE root *bel- "strong" (source also of Sanskrit balam "strength, force," Greek beltion "better," Phrygian balaios "big, fast," Old Irish odbal "strong," Welsh balch "proud;" Middle Dutch, Low German, Frisian pal "strong, firm").
The faction of the Russian Social Democratic Worker's Party after a split in 1903 that was either "larger" or "more extreme" (or both) than the Mensheviks (from Russian men'shij "less"); after they seized power in 1917, the name was applied generally in English to Russian communists, then also to anyone opposed to an existing order or social system. Bolshevism is recorded from 1917.
a name originally applied to the lake, perhaps from Old Ojibwa (Algonquian) *meshi-gami "big lake." The spelling is French. Organized as a U.S. territory 1805, admitted as a state 1837. A resident is a Michiganian (1813); Michigander (1848) seems to have been a humorous coinage of Abraham Lincoln in reference to Lewis Cass.
violent, squeaky-voiced puppet-show star, 1709, shortening of Punchinello (1666), from Italian (Neapolitan) Pollecinella, Pollecenella, diminutive of pollecena "turkey pullet," probably in allusion to his big nose. The phrase pleased as punch apparently refers to his unfailing triumph over enemies. The comic weekly of this name was published in London from 1841.
northern circumpolar constellation, in Greek mythology queen of Ethiopia, wife of Cepheus and mother of Andromeda, from Latinized form of Greek Kassiepeia, Kassiopeia, a name of unknown etymology. A conspicuous "W" (or "M") of stars, always opposite the Big Dipper, she is represented as seated in a chair. The supernova there in 1572 outshone Venus, was observed by Tycho, among others, and helped revolutionize astronomy. Related: Cassiopeian.
fem. proper name, from Old High German Berahta, Perahta, the name of a goddess, literally "the bright one," from Old High German beraht "bright," related to Old English beorht (from PIE root *bhereg- "to shine; bright, white"). Soldiers' nickname Big Bertha for large-bore German mortar of World War I is a reference to Frau Bertha Krupp von Bohlen und Halbach (1886-1957), owner of Krupp steel works from 1903-43.
city in Maryland, U.S., founded 1729, named for Cecilius Calvert (1605-1675), 2nd baron Baltimore, who held the charter for Maryland colony; the name is from a small port town in southern Ireland where the family had its seat, from Irish Baile na Tighe Mor, literally "townland of the big house." In old baseball slang, a Baltimore chop was a hit right in front of the plate that bounced high.
in reference to a family or group of North American native peoples, 1761, from North American French, short for Nadouessioux, sometimes said to be from Ojibway (Algonquian) Natowessiwak (plural), literally "little snakes," from nadowe "Iroquois" ("(big) snakes"). Another explanation traces it to early Ottawa (Algonquian) singular /na:towe:ssi/ (plural /na:towe:ssiwak/) "Sioux," apparently from a verb meaning "to speak a foreign language" [Bright]. In either case, a name given by their neighbors; the people's name for themselves is Dakota.
town and railroad stop on the Main Line outside Philadelphia, named 1869 by the Pennsylvania Railroad's executives, Welsh, literally "big hill;" it was the name of the estate near Dolgellau, Merionethshire, Wales, that belonged to Rowland Ellis, one of the original Quaker settlers in the region (1686). Before the change the village was known as Humphreysville, after another early Welsh settler. The women's college there was founded in 1885.
masc. proper name, also the name of an archangel, from Late Latin Michael (source of French Michel, Spanish Miguel), from Greek Mikhael, from Hebrew Mikha-el, literally "Who is like God?" The modern form of the name was a learned form in Middle English, where the common form was Michel (also Mihhal, Mighel, etc.), from Old French. The surname Mitchell might be from the old pronunciation of Michael or in some cases it might be from Old English mycel "big."