big (adj.)

c. 1300, at first found chiefly in northern England and north Midlands writing, "powerful, strong," of obscure origin, possibly from a Scandinavian source (compare Norwegian dialectal bugge "great man"). Old English used micel (see much) in many of the same senses. It came into general use c. 1400. Meaning "of great size" is late 14c.; that of "full-grown, grown up" is attested from late 14c. Sense of "important, influential, powerful" is from c. 1400. Meaning "haughty, inflated with pride" is from 1570s. Meaning "generous" is U.S. colloquial by 1913.

Big band as a musical style is from 1926. Slang big head "conceit" is first recorded 1850. Big business "large commercial firms collectively" is from 1913 (before that it meant "a profitable income in business"). Big top "main tent of a circus" is from 1895. Big game "large animals hunted for sport" is from 1864. Big house "penitentiary" is U.S. underworld slang first attested 1915 (in London, "a workhouse," 1851). In financial journalism, big ticket items so called from 1956. Big lie is from Hitler's grosse Lüge.

updated on December 05, 2018

Definitions of big from WordNet
big (adj.)
in an advanced stage of pregnancy;
was big with child
Synonyms: enceinte / expectant / gravid / great / large / heavy / with child
big (adj.)
big eater
big spender
Synonyms: heavy
big (adj.)
exhibiting self-importance;
big talk
Synonyms: boastful / braggart / bragging / braggy / cock-a-hoop / crowing / self-aggrandizing / self-aggrandising
big (adj.)
above average in size or number or quantity or magnitude or extent;
a big expenditure
set out for the big city
a big (or large) barn
a big group of scientists
big businesses
Synonyms: large
big (adj.)
graduation was a big day in his life
big (adj.)
very intense;
had a big (or bad) shock
in a big rage
Synonyms: bad
big (adj.)
loud and firm;
big bold piano sounds
a big voice
big (adj.)
conspicuous in position or importance;
big man on campus
a big figure in the movement
Synonyms: large / prominent
big (adj.)
feeling self-importance;
too big for his britches
Synonyms: swelled / vainglorious
big (adj.)
(of animals) fully developed;
Synonyms: adult / full-grown / fully grown / grown / grownup
big (adj.)
marked by intense physical force;
a big wind
big (adj.)
generous and understanding and tolerant;
a heart big enough to hold no grudges
that's very big of you to be so forgiving
Synonyms: large / magnanimous
big (adj.)
given or giving freely;
was a big tipper
Synonyms: bighearted / bounteous / bountiful / freehanded / handsome / giving / liberal / openhanded
big (adv.)
extremely well;
his performance went over big
big (adv.)
in a boastful manner;
he talked big all evening
Synonyms: boastfully / vauntingly / large
big (adv.)
on a grand scale;
think big
big (adv.)
in a major way;
the play failed big at the box office
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