Definition of big in English:

big

adjective

  • 1Of considerable size or extent.

    ‘her big hazel eyes’
    ‘big buildings’
    ‘big staff cuts’
    • ‘Replacing council tax with a fair local tax would mean big tax cuts for ordinary families.’
    • ‘A big cut back in the number of council vans which we see all over the town would save a large amount of money.’
    • ‘If your lawn is too big to cut without a rider, set aside a portion of your lawn for a push mower.’
    • ‘His game looked very pretty but he was a tall, spindly youth who simply could not cut it with the big, tough lads in his age group.’
    • ‘All the tests have proved negative but the sample size is not big enough to draw any firm conclusions.’
    • ‘The first cave is down by the grass, a big outcrop of rock cut below to an arched tunnel with a chimney through the top.’
    • ‘They cut the big organic pasture next door yesterday, carting the hay away to be dried safely elsewhere.’
    • ‘I had to present Michael with a great big sabre to cut the cake - we had a real laugh with it.’
    • ‘A big cut in the dividend is inevitable, further undermining the case for holding the shares.’
    • ‘Using a biscuit or scone cutter, cut out rounds as big or as little as you like.’
    • ‘Within a few minutes the men cut down two big branches from the tree.’
    • ‘Watching the top downhillers, you are struck by their size: they tend to be big, muscular and solid.’
    • ‘We are a very small organisation and we are not staffed up to handle big surges in communication.’
    • ‘The club has also provided uniforms for staff and held a big party for the children to celebrate the announcement of the grant.’
    • ‘Police are hunting the thieves, who cut a big hole in the fence to get to the aluminium.’
    • ‘We kept going as we knew we were close to the finish but we cut a big corner towards the finish and broke the windscreen.’
    • ‘He's been politically committed and has taken big cuts in his salary to make these kinds of films.’
    • ‘The brand is a well made children's line, which is cut on the big size for plenty of wear.’
    • ‘He said, you'll have to take a big cut in salary and you'll have to start at the bottom.’
    • ‘Soon, Casper began cutting the material with big scissors, and pinning them on Freya.’
    large, sizeable, of considerable size, substantial, considerable, great, huge, immense, enormous, extensive, colossal, massive, mammoth, vast, prodigious, tremendous, gigantic, giant, monumental, mighty, stupendous, gargantuan, elephantine, titanic, epic, mountainous, megalithic, monstrous, brobdingnagian
    well built, sturdily built, heavily built, sturdy, brawny, burly, broad-shouldered, muscular, muscly, well muscled, robust, rugged, lusty, herculean, bulky, strapping, thickset, stocky, solid, hefty, meaty
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1attributive Larger than other items of the same kind.
      ‘my big toe’
      • ‘He had distinctive brown eyebrows, wore dentures and was missing the big toe on his right foot.’
      • ‘It was around this time that Tim developed frostbite on his big toe.’
      • ‘A bunion is an abnormal, bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe.’
      • ‘She remembered that she could just wriggle her right big toe and hoped that someone would notice.’
      • ‘It can affect anywhere but usually attacks the big toes or feet and ankles.’
      • ‘They were unable to save his left leg but used the big toe to replace his right thumb.’
      • ‘Again there is a difference between big and little toes as far as further treatment is concerned.’
      • ‘It's actually quite relaxing, except for when she presses on an area near the big toe of my left foot which is total agony.’
      • ‘Because he had lain so long in the open he needed surgery on his right foot for frostbite and his big toe had to be amputated.’
      • ‘The house was owned by a great big giant, and a lively little pixie.’
      • ‘But last month he began a new treatment for an ulcer on his big toe which has failed to heal for five years.’
      • ‘I try to keep my legs together, keep tension on my big toes and almost tilt my feet in.’
      • ‘Attacks often happen at night and in 70 per cent of cases the first area to be affected is the joint of the big toe.’
      • ‘Raise yourself onto the balls of both feet, pushing down onto your big toes.’
      • ‘Yesterday's blister got a little worse and grew to the big toe region.’
      • ‘I stick plasters on three toes to prevent blisters, and a gel cushion on my big toes to protect my toenails.’
      • ‘There can also be a characteristic thickening of the skin over the lower legs and on the tops of the feet or big toes.’
      • ‘The big toe is the classic place to find it, but it can affect other areas too.’
      • ‘Because I love to walk around the house barefoot I had a crust of hard skin on my heels and along the side of my big toe.’
      • ‘The jury found him not guilty of one charge of grievous bodily harm - a fractured big toe on the child's left foot.’
    2. 1.2 Grown-up.
      ‘I'm a big girl now’
      • ‘Anyway, she wanted to be a big girl and to prove her parents how independent she could be.’
      • ‘The big girls and boys, who were already five, were allowed to bring me up and show it to me.’
      • ‘“Now quit crying and be a big boy. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”’
      • ‘The school didn't have a uniform and like a big girl I spent forever trying to figure out what to wear.’
      • ‘She knew Mommy was busy, so she decided to be a big girl and take a bath all by herself.’
      • ‘She warned him again, "Jason, remember that mommy thinks you're a big boy now."’
      • ‘Prepping her for this, we talked to her encouraging her that when she turned 3 she would be a big girl and would sleep in her big girl bed.’
      • ‘So, I told her that she is a big girl, that she has a phone number and if she wants to organise a party she can do it herself.’
      • ‘If she gets in the way, it's unfortunate, but she's a big girl, she knows the score.’
      • ‘“When I’m big, I’ll be a chiropractor, too,” he told that man, who he would encounter again during his first year of studies.’
      • ‘I should be surprised if he were not big enough and mature enough to handle it.’
      • ‘Anastasia just smiled, loving the fact that she was being called a big girl and a baby at the same time.’
      • ‘"You're a big boy. I'm going to make you a very big boy's present," she told him. "Big boys drive fire engines."’
      • ‘I can say this because Anvar is a big girl now and a very successful journalist.’
      • ‘When I'm big, I'll be a policeman.’
      • ‘Mama scolded me for crying, because I was a big girl, not a baby to cry like little Hope.’
      grown-up, adult, mature, grown, full grown
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3attributive Elder.
      ‘my big sister’
      • ‘If he can cast my big sister out, he wouldn't think twice about casting me out.’
      • ‘My big brother and I were running toward the riverbank.’
      • ‘Then our big sisters said it was time to go and see Santa when I was still throwing snowballs.’
      • ‘Still and silent, he didn't look like my big brother, who was always there to protect me.’
      • ‘She used to work for me and was very good at taking care of me like a big sister.’
      • ‘He continued to read the newspaper and I continued to worry about my big sister.’
      • ‘Since your big sister is away, this could be a good time for you and your mom to get closer.’
      • ‘She had lots of friends, but she clung on to her big sister Samantha, who she idolised.’
      • ‘Not only that but I also know that as his big sister he does respect my opinions on some level so he gets quite hurt.’
      • ‘Jamie hopes to reach dizzy heights just like big sister Amanda.’
      • ‘Next to him sat my big sister and my mom, both staring at me, waiting for my reaction.’
      • ‘The little boy frowned and then he seemed to notice that his big sister was not alone in her room.’
      • ‘She is going to be a nurse like her big sister, Margaret, who is nursing locally.’
      • ‘So there you go, my big sister, at the age of 37 has finally found someone she wants to settle down with.’
      • ‘Little sisters are doing it for themselves, with a helping hand from their big sisters.’
      • ‘Our dad nodded again and left the room as quickly as he had entered, leaving me alone with my big sister again.’
      • ‘The only bad thing was that he couldn't share his happiness with anyone but his big sister.’
      • ‘Every day, we would nag my big sister Nadia to find out when our mother was going to come and fetch us.’
      • ‘Like my big sister, I've a gift of time, but no idea what to do with it.’
      • ‘With her big sister, Stephanie, who is also an accomplished violinist, she grew up in the region.’
      older, senior, first, firstborn, more grown up
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4informal On an ambitiously large scale.
      ‘a small company with big plans’
      • ‘Although his dad has big ambitions for him, financial constraints are a problem.’
      • ‘Now these small islands are at the centre of a big plan to bring bring back luxury tourism.’
      • ‘The children helped plan the big occasion and chose who the happy couple were to be.’
      • ‘Its ambition was to create big films that could make an impact on the US market.’
      • ‘These are complemented by a mix of bars and lounges where entertainment comes on a big scale or in intimate surroundings.’
      • ‘"We have big plans for nuclear energy," he said at a joint briefing.’
      • ‘While the project has barely begun, Thomas already has big plans for the course.’
      • ‘For once, they are the big spenders, with the big ambitions and better players.’
      • ‘I hope they don't have any big plans to try and make me into a pop star or something.’
      • ‘But Debbie may not have much spare time for long because she has big plans for the future.’
      • ‘If you were planning a big spend, particularly for household assets, go for it now.’
      • ‘Plans for the big day have been plagued by problems ever since it was announced two weeks ago.’
      • ‘How might a small software company with big ambitions draw vast amounts of free advertising press coverage?’
      • ‘It is a black and white film about a teenaged girl with big dreams of becoming an actress.’
      • ‘It is apparent that this young girl has big dreams and she is doing whatever she can to make them reality.’
      • ‘But his big long term plan is to switch to a pay per mile system of distance charging.’
      • ‘He knows he is joining a big club with big ambitions and those ambitions match his own.’
      • ‘She had big travelling plans happening in less than a month and assumed she wouldn't see him again.’
      • ‘Since then the pair have been inseparable and were looking forward to their big day, planned for this July.’
      • ‘But we are certainly not going to be giving up big assets which we have really big plans for.’
      ambitious, far-reaching, on a grand scale
      View synonyms
    5. 1.5informal attributive Doing a specified action very often or on a very large scale.
      ‘a big eater’
      ‘a big gambler’
      • ‘We're not big bean eaters in my household so doubtless I'll have plenty of spare to offer around at work.’
      • ‘I'm not anti-gambling, but I'm also not a big gambler myself other than an occasional football pool.’
      • ‘I'm not a big player of these types of games but thought I'd give this one a go.’
      • ‘This character was very Keith, since he was almost as big of an eater as Munch was.’
      • ‘'My father is a big eater and my mother a good cook'.’
      • ‘I've always been a big player of games. Ever since I can remember the holidays would involve me playing a lot of Monopoly, Cluedo or some other board game.’
      • ‘“I’m not a big sleeper,” he declares, adding that his work on the show “isn’t hard — just time-consuming."’
      • ‘I'm not really a big eater of pies.’
      • ‘Mickelson may be a big gambler, but all too often when the pressure is at its most intense he has left himself a busted flush.’
      • ‘Though she was not a big eater herself, she enjoyed making other people happy with her meals.’
    6. 1.6informal attributive Showing great enthusiasm.
      ‘a big tennis fan’
      • ‘I've never gone big on the fame thing, because that means a whole lot more.’
      • ‘She is a keen photographer, is a big fan of basketball and is passionate about deep sea diving.’
      • ‘The corporate market is not big on emotional responses to technology though.’
      • ‘Even if you're not a big football fan, last night's Champions League final was a cracker.’
      • ‘The activities I liked best were arts and crafts, which my Mum is very big on.’
      • ‘So when it all works and you come out of it with the Ashes it is pretty much compulsory to go big on the champagne afterwards.’
      • ‘I can't pretend to be a big fan, but I liked him very much in that series with Zoe Wannamaker, Love Hurts.’
      • ‘My father had always been big on sports and had always wanted me to play sports as a kid.’
      • ‘He'd always been big on sports, mainly soccer and ice hockey, and it was evident.’
      • ‘The affable star is big on eye contact, and smiles easily and often.’
      • ‘That's an honorable but perhaps ironic stance for a company which is big on its own inventiveness.’
      • ‘Specifically he was probably rebelling against our parents, who were very big on doing everything right.’
      • ‘I'm a big fan of yours, Neil, and have been for a long, long while, but something lately has been bothering me.’
      • ‘Japanese cookery is big on freshness, using produce in season and sourced locally, where possible.’
      • ‘As tourist must-sees go, this part of Brittany isn't big on manufactured attractions.’
      • ‘Neither of us was really big on shopping, so we wanted to get it done as quickly as possible.’
      • ‘I have always been a big fan of stories about different background and cultures to my collection.’
      • ‘When he was just a tiny two-year-old it was clear Nicolas Haworth had what it takes to be a big hit in the tennis world.’
      • ‘While I'm not a big fan of graphic novels, I realize they can be a powerful medium for personal expression.’
      • ‘He wasn't big on compliments, however when he did give them it was clear he meant them with all his heart.’
  • 2Of considerable importance or seriousness.

    ‘it's a big decision’
    ‘his biggest problem is money’
    ‘he made a big mistake’
    • ‘Let us hope for a speedy solution to our transfer dealings and one where the big decisions made are for the good of the club on the pitch.’
    • ‘The touchstone of a great captain and team management is the ability to make big decisions.’
    • ‘This was a big mistake and he always regretted the decision to give the plane to the museum.’
    • ‘They thought their jobs were secure enough to make the big decision to buy a house.’
    • ‘She got it wrong on the restart, a little mistake but big consequences for everybody else.’
    • ‘Anyone who runs a business but doesn't have a clear idea of how they will sell it or float it is making a big mistake.’
    • ‘Ministers undoubtedly made big mistakes in the handling of the crisis.’
    • ‘That was my big mistake and I paid the price for ignoring similar advice.’
    • ‘It was a big decision to donate my kidney, but it wasn't a problem in the end.’
    • ‘A teenager who says a support group saved her from a life of crime has warned it would be a big mistake to let it close.’
    • ‘What would life be like without all the anxieties and pitfalls of big decisions?’
    • ‘With the easy wisdom of perfect hindsight, the big mistake is obvious.’
    • ‘I'm very aware of what a big decision it is, but it's not the right time.’
    • ‘He doesn't wield any real power as long as the committee gets to make the big decisions.’
    • ‘Some of the things you do are common sense, but you could make a big mistake if you didn't know what you were doing.’
    • ‘It was a big mistake, but the things I learned from it made it a big mistake rather than a big failure.’
    • ‘Elections are not about issues, but for choosing which people we trust to make the big decisions on our behalf.’
    • ‘And do discuss it fully with your family before going ahead, as it is a very big decision.’
    • ‘Oblivious to the signs and portents that he's making a very big mistake, he takes the job.’
    • ‘Calling for strike action, even now they have called off the first four planned days of action, may turn out to be a big mistake.’
    important, significant, major, of great import, of significance, momentous, of moment, weighty, consequential, of consequence, far-reaching, key, vital, critical, crucial, life-and-death, high-priority, serious, grave, solemn
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1informal Very popular or successful.
      ‘African bands which are big in Britain’
      • ‘He's big in Norway because he won two Olympic medals for that country and was knighted several years ago.’
      • ‘"No other English footballer has ever really made it big over here," he said. "I'd love to be well-known in America."’
      • ‘This draw was a big success for both the club and the county board last year.’
      • ‘There is a reason that so few bands from Ireland make it internationally when they are so big over here.’
      • ‘The festival has been a big success this year with the children's events extremely popular.’
      • ‘She's not as big over here as some would have you believe, but she's still pretty successful.’
      • ‘The sport is so big over here, the grandstands were packed with people cheering and celebrating.’
      • ‘Badminton is big over here. I love virtually all racket based sports, and am hoping I can get my mom to play when she comes over.’
      • ‘This is her first book in English--she's BIG in Japan.’
      • ‘A very big thank you to all those who participated and helped out in any way to make this event a big success.’
      • ‘All the sideshows and games attracted a lot of support and the bonny baby competition was a big success too.’
      • ‘It's easier to be big in America if you're already big in Britain.’
      • ‘He is so big over here in Europe, I'm not sure the Americans realise just how big.’
      • ‘When someone has had a big success it doesn't make much in the news.’
      • ‘Yellow school buses are big in America. Now a company in Newport is trying to make them big over here too.’
      • ‘The Christmas draw on the same night was also a big success with a big demand for tickets right up to the time for the draw.’
      • ‘American Football isn't big over here at all. It's a shame because any games I've seen have usually been pretty good.’
      • ‘We tried scrumming but other than being funny, it wasn't a big success.’
      • ‘The songs you listed are recent and still big over here.’
      • ‘The organising committee thank all who helped make the night such a big success for a very worthy cause.’
      popular, successful, commercially successful, in demand, sought-after, all the rage
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2informal Holding an important position or playing an influential role.
      ‘as a senior in college, he was a big man on campus’
      • ‘The monsoon has played a big role in reducing the passage time to the country.’
      • ‘He was quick to point out that nurture plays a big role, not just our genes.’
      • ‘We go over each game together and of course Wayne has been a big influence.’
      • ‘Michael, a young American poet, was a big influence on me at that time.’
      • ‘Colin readily admits that he was a big political influence in his teenage years.’
      • ‘And of course our family relationships are likely to play a big role in shaping ourselves.’
      • ‘He was a big influence during his time at the Crown Ground and it's thanks to him in many ways that we've got where we are today.’
      • ‘I have to say that John Lennon was a really big influence, I think a lot of people found inspiration in his music.’
      • ‘This in turn will have a very big influence on the prospects for partnership in the future.’
      • ‘My father was a footballer, having played for Shelbourne and Bohemians, and was a big influence on me.’
      • ‘Of course, he is too good a player and too big an influence not to be missed.’
      • ‘Jazz has been a big influence on your life yet it is usually perceived as being music for the middle-classes.’
      • ‘Over a short period, changes in gut fill can have a big influence on the recorded liveweight gain.’
      • ‘Because of the greater variability in the consumers, research plays a big role.’
      • ‘Certainly Davis has been a big influence on it, for his philosophy as much as for those jazz influences.’
      • ‘The element plays a big role, but you don't usually have much control over that.’
      • ‘Anyone with kids knows what a big influence the culture is on our kids and our future.’
      • ‘Big plans are now in the pipeline to open it up again soon and it will once again play a big role in town as work is completed.’
      • ‘His father, he realises now, was a big influence on him becoming a comic.’
      • ‘Growing up in the environment he did played a very big part in influencing his direction.’
      powerful, important, prominent, influential, high-powered, leading, pre-eminent, of high standing, outstanding, well known, eminent, distinguished, principal, foremost, noteworthy, notable, noted
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  • 3ironic, informal predicative Generous.

    ‘‘I'm inclined to take pity on you.’ ‘That's big of you!’’
    • ‘I also think that it is very "big" of you to be calm and take care of the situations and even laugh about them later.’
    • ‘I think it was very, very big of him to come after being asked to step down.’
    • ‘That's very big of him considering the full extent of what he learned a short time later.’
    • ‘That was mighty big of him, and he made sure I realized it.’
    • ‘Alex, that's very big of you to admit you were wrong.’
    • ‘Regardless, I thought that was big of him to take the responsibility.’
    • ‘It was big of you to come out and say that you actually saw a Sunday matinee when it was still in theaters.’
    • ‘I appreciate that and that was big of you to come in here and apologize" Michelle said as Maryse nodded and headed out with a smirk.’
    • ‘That he’s allowed this sensitive information to be included in an episode of his own show is very big of him, ironically.’
    • ‘That was very big of you to admit your faults.’
    generous, kind, kindly, kind-hearted, caring, compassionate, loving, benevolent, magnanimous, unselfish, altruistic, selfless, philanthropic
    View synonyms

verb

[WITH OBJECT]big something up
British
informal
  • Praise or recommend something highly.

    ‘the record's been on the streets a while now, but it's still worth bigging up’
    • ‘I don't want to big it up too much, as then the whole experience might fail to meet my expectations.’
    • ‘There are posters all over the place bigging it up, but it is so nondescript from the outside that it's easy to mistake for a regular hedge.’
    • ‘United bigged him up on tour and then dropped him like a stone on his return to Manchester.’
    • ‘It is either time to big it up or to say good night.’
    ennoble, exalt, elevate, lift up, add dignity to, dignify, add lustre to, add distinction to, enhance, increase, augment, promote, boost
    View synonyms

noun

the bigs
North American
informal
  • The major league in a professional sport.

    ‘the day he made it to the bigs, he forgot every minor league ballpark he ever played in’
    • ‘He hopes his affordability will help him make it back to the bigs.’
    • ‘There have been 36 ballplayers with the first name Jay to have played in the bigs, and most of them have done so in my lifetime - an exciting demographic trend to someone who never met another person with the same name until after college.’
    • ‘Two years later, he made his major-league debut with the Chicago White Sox, and the next season, he was in the bigs to stay.’
    • ‘At the start of his third season in the bigs, he was going through a divorce, but he didn't think it affected his game.’
    • ‘For the optimistic fan, it's a reminder of just how difficult professional baseball is, and a chance to see minor league players learning to do the things that will get them to the bigs.’
    • ‘Besides that, he came up to the bigs as a catcher but turned himself into an All-Star second baseman because he thought he would be more valuable to his team in that position.’
    • ‘Unlike other parts of the Caribbean, where seeing the hometown boys in the bigs is a source of pride, the Mexican baseball powers have decided to keep the product local.’
    • ‘Opening day for his league is April 5-about the same as the bigs - and after our previous drill session, a few days earlier, I knew we had a problem.’
    • ‘But as the first minor-leaguer I followed to make good in the bigs, he holds a special distinction in my eyes.’
    • ‘In 1974, the 31-year old John underwent an elbow reconstruction procedure which was so successful that it allowed him to pitch another 14 years in the bigs - and at a higher level than before.’
    • ‘But even among these successful major leaguers, their first couple of months in the bigs were a struggle, with average performances more than 20 percent below their eventual career norms.’
    • ‘If all goes well, I think it is possible that he could get a shot in the bigs sometime next year.’
    • ‘His first exposure to the bigs was with the Pilgrims.’
    • ‘He never made it to the bigs, but he knew his craft.’
    • ‘He got his first taste of the bigs in 1995, but he didn't stick until '98.’
    • ‘But he fell victim to a kidney disease and his health deteriorated; he won only 14 more games in the bigs after that five year stretch.’
    • ‘What are the most important metrics you use in evaluating whether a minor leaguer can be successful in the bigs?’
    • ‘His last appearance in the bigs is one for the annals; in 1912, when he was 48 years old, he was part of a one-game makeshift team fielded by the Detroit Tigers.’
    • ‘After an apprenticeship in the minors, a few umpires are picked to jump to the bigs.’
    • ‘He stole 31 bases and hit 19 triples in the minors over 2,718 at bats; but just 4 SBs and 6 3Bs in 1718 ABs in the bigs.’

Phrases

  • big with child

    • archaic In a late stage of pregnancy.

      • ‘The woman was very big with child and rode on a donkey, and her husband went from door to door seeking shelter for his wife, but he was told at every inn that there was no vacancy.’
      • ‘If anything happens to the woman I shall impute it to him, for she was big with child.’
      • ‘She was quite big with child, and looked to be confined every hour.’
      • ‘My wife, big with child, was sitting in the rocking chair a few feet from me, and I was sitting by the table.’
      • ‘After some months, the weary young girl, now big with child, came to the city of Torre-Longa.’
      expecting a baby, having a baby, with a baby on the way, having a child, expectant, carrying a child
      View synonyms
  • the Big Board

    • informal The New York Stock Exchange.

  • the big five

    • A name given by hunters to the five largest and most dangerous African mammals: rhinoceros, elephant, buffalo, lion, and leopard.

      • ‘Hundreds of thousands from all over the world flock here year round for a glimpse of the big five: elephant, buffalo, leopard, rhino and lion.’
      • ‘Another good option is to fly to the Maasai Mara, Kenya's top wildlife sanctuary and home to the big five - elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo.’
      • ‘You are guaranteed to tick off the full roster of the big five lion, buffalo, leopard, rhino and elephant.’
      • ‘Most people on safari are after the big five - lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino.’
      • ‘The economics of shooting with the big five of Africa - the elephants, the giraffes, the rhino, the zebra and the buffaloes should be attractive, he said.’
  • the big idea

    • ironic A clever or important intention or scheme.

      ‘the government's big idea was to make public services competitive’
      • ‘And what's the big idea of having a curfew at the hostel, locking the doors at midnight?’
      • ‘The big idea here is to pay attention when watching.’
      • ‘His big idea, the one that will stay with me, is this: never trust a politician - or a political system - that you cannot get rid of.’
      • ‘The Party can then look forward to another term on the opposition benches, waiting, no doubt, for the next big idea.’
      • ‘If ever there was a big idea translated into policy by a president that was it.’
      • ‘Forget the music, it is the journey that's the big idea.’
      • ‘Its pastel-colour palette and cutout design was impressive because it managed to turn a relatively small space into a big idea.’
      • ‘No doubt the plans for a regional parliament another bureaucratic big idea will bring even more burden to the over-stretched taxpayer.’
      • ‘A successful government has to convert the country to its own big idea.’
      • ‘So a change in format will be the big idea that turns things around?’
  • the big lie

    • A gross distortion or misrepresentation of the facts, especially when used as a propaganda device by a politician or official body.

      • ‘Some members of the administration may be in the process of discovering that, given time, the big lie turns on itself.’
      • ‘But there are still some observers pointing out the big lie.’
      • ‘We'll remain cautiously optimistic that this isn't a pre-election strategy or an exercise in optics; that it isn't another big lie.’
      • ‘The politician knows these facts but also knows his big lie will probably endure.’
      • ‘Told with sincerity to a people anxious for reassurance, deriving from some source beyond and greater than its speaker, the big lie is so outrageously improbable that no one could possibly make it up.’
      • ‘The leader has ‘bottomless wells of sincerity’, some commentators have said, that he draws on wonderfully when he tells his next big lie.’
      • ‘I believe that these charges are going to prove to be the ultimate big lie.’
      • ‘The party has mastered the art of telling half truths and the big lie.’
      • ‘‘Climate change’; it sounds innocuous, but for some scientists it spells doom, to others it represents a big lie.’
      • ‘What the candidate has done here is told the big lie about embryonic stem cells.’
  • big money

    • informal Large amounts of money.

      ‘Emily earns big bucks on Wall Street’
      • ‘With business and sport now irretrievably entwined, there's big money in medals.’
      • ‘We were never like big, big money, but we made a lot of money and we also spent a lot on things like travelling musicians and dancers.’
      • ‘He showed us how to use big money, and now big money has become the rule of the day.’
      • ‘He says he will release big money for book serialisations and buy-ups.’
      • ‘Companies pay big money to make sure that their product gets in front of the right people and makes them want to buy.’
      • ‘Doesn't that sort of fly in the face of this argument that big money corrupts the system?’
      • ‘We've not gone into the transfer market and spent big money but we've got some quality players.’
      • ‘If the price moves in the investor's favour, big money can be made from a relatively small stake, but huge sums can also be lost.’
      • ‘For some, this was a sign that money, big money, could be made by making a movie of the story.’
      • ‘How did it become a big money sport, and how have you turned it into such a great business?’
      fortune, considerable sum of money, large sum of money, vast sum of money, millions, billions
      View synonyms
  • the big screen

    • informal The cinema.

      • ‘It is an epic that is perfect for the big screen and is well worth a trip to the cinema.’
      • ‘Should this reach the big screen it would be interesting to see what the final product looks like and how the film is rated.’
      • ‘I'm not sure it ever got a wide distribution, which is a shame because it really deserved to be seen on a big screen.’
      • ‘However, the inclusion of a few scenes here and there is not why you have to see this film on the big screen.’
      • ‘If you can imagine your idea on the big screen then its probably going to make a good film.’
      • ‘My only regret is that I didn't see it on the big screen when I had the chance.’
      • ‘While the story sounds simple and interesting when told, on the big screen it is a different matter.’
      • ‘I suggest you see it when it hits the cinema, as films like this are designed for the big screen.’
      • ‘All I can say is that a lot of people missed an opportunity to see a great piece of cinema on the big screen.’
      • ‘This was my first real scary movie on a big screen and I expected it to scare my soul away.’
  • big shot

    • informal An important or influential person.

      • ‘Whenever I'm on this program, you and your staff really make us look like big shots and I truly appreciate all the attention and the effort.’
      • ‘And the author found half a dozen business big shots who made the same claim.’
      • ‘Often, the talk his editors wanted was from big shots, businessmen promoting themselves or wallowing in rancor.’
      • ‘People think I think I'm a big shot, but I've always tried to inspire them.’
      • ‘A brief scan of today's TV reveals that a good percentage of the material centres around big shots ' extra-marital affairs.’
      • ‘I was a big shot in the fashion industry; I felt very important.’
      • ‘Much of it deals with the ridiculous effect money has on people, and how they spend away to feel like big shots one minute, then go nuts trying to save pennies the next.’
      • ‘This was the poshest colony in the town, and all the inhabitants of the area were sons or grandsons, or great grandsons of big shots.’
      • ‘It was a supposedly staid gathering of local party big shots, including the deputy governor, a senator and the state attorney general.’
      • ‘The ultimate top of the hierarchy is occupied by the big shots.’
  • the big stick

    • informal The use or threat of force or power.

      ‘the authorities used quiet persuasion instead of the big stick’
      • ‘To be tough on sick absence you need to tackle the root causes rather than adopting a crude big stick approach.’
      • ‘It is now panicking and waving the big stick of the threat to cap, which is something it said it would not do.’
      • ‘Bad people need the big stick, not counselling.’
      • ‘They don't need a big stick or a royal warning to force them - they know it makes good business sense.’
      • ‘‘The way forward is to not to get a big stick but to say that equal opportunities makes good business sense,’ she said.’
      • ‘Does he use a big stick or does he have extraordinary powers of motivation?’
      • ‘He said: ‘This is another attempt to be seen to be using a big stick when what we need is to properly resource social work departments.’’
      • ‘But the soft-speaking only works if the other side understands that there is a willingness to use the big stick.’
      • ‘They take the big stick out whenever there's a problem.’
      • ‘I've been beaten around with a big stick by the media in England.’
  • the Big Three (or Four etc.)

    • informal The three, four, etc., most important or powerful figures in a particular field.

      ‘increased competition between the Big Three cider-makers’
      • ‘The survey indicated that cost is more important to the Big Three than its foreign competitors.’
      • ‘When that happened, many insiders started questioning the whole premise of the Big Three.’
      • ‘We are everywhere advised that suddenly there has been ordained a Big Four in golf, and these designees will lead the field in the Masters this week.’
      • ‘With the squad due to leave on their Far East tour tomorrow morning, it is important that the Big Three's destiny is decided rapidly.’
      • ‘In about an hour, the Big Three east coast newspapers should e-publish tomorrow's editions.’
      • ‘The exhibition began with the famous photograph of the Big Three - Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin.’
      • ‘But the projections still don't look good, and already one of the Big Three has hit the rocks.’
      • ‘Each player was given a separate amount of chips before the game and the four members of the Big Four were ready to play.’
      • ‘The Big Three, however, saw an emerging opportunity as boomers began buying second homes.’
      • ‘However, the team's defense has grown in the shadows of the Big Three.’
  • come (or go) over big

    • informal Have a great effect; be a success.

      ‘the story went over big with the children’
      • ‘It went over big with the crowd, and if you voted for the opposition, you probably found it amusing.’
      • ‘These ideas obviously went over big with our gift testers.’
      • ‘Figure out the answer to that and you are well on your way to finding gifts that will go over big.’
      • ‘The loss of the player to the Raiders didn't go over big with his former teammates.’
      • ‘It is, rather, sentimental, and sentimentality always goes over big in the commercial theater, so long as it's disguised as realism.’
      • ‘He began by saying he hadn't come to relive the 2000 election - and then spent half his speech doing just that, which of course went over big with the crowd.’
      • ‘Juggling also goes over big - especially with fire.’
      • ‘I realize this will probably not go over big with a lot of CIOs - my saying they're hiding behind their technology.’
      • ‘These days you only have to give the audience a hint that their collective hands should beat out a rhythm, in order to reassure those on stage that they are going over big.’
      • ‘I bet the massage thing would go over big, too - it's a very physical job, and aches and pains are par for the course.’
  • give someone the big E

    • informal Reject someone.

      • ‘Is it now the time for the team to be given the BIG E?’
      • ‘Your shocked reaction may have served to confirm her anxiety that she's more likely to be given the big E once a guy finds out she's a mother.’
      • ‘Do you have any tips or tricks on how to give her the big E?’
      • ‘The end result is that people like me - people who are reliable, people he can trust - get given the big E.’
      • ‘That said, it’s inadvisable to give him the big E just because he used his fish knife to butter his bread.’
      rebuff, spurn, repudiate, cut off, cast off, cast aside, discard, jettison, abandon, desert, turn one's back on, have nothing to do with, have nothing more to do with, wash one's hands of, cast out, shut out, exclude, shun, cold-shoulder, give someone the cold shoulder
      View synonyms
  • in a big way

    • informal To a great extent or high degree.

      ‘he contributed to the film in a big way’
      • ‘Of course, their cause was aided in a big way by one of the biggest corporations around.’
      • ‘The spiralling unemployment rate has resulted in the frustrated youth taking to crime in a big way.’
      • ‘People, especially those in the bigger cities, are investing in a big way in mutual funds.’
      • ‘That affected me in a big way - I think I'm only now beginning to come to terms with it.’
      • ‘If the project takes off in a big way, the potential for a more realistic movie experience may not be very far off.’
      • ‘The Internet's traditional advantages come to play in a big way to make it an effective way to meet people.’
      • ‘That which was not necessarily noticed in a big way would suddenly become the focus of everybody's attention.’
      • ‘We are told that corporates have taken to such dance lessons in a big way.’
      • ‘It is a wonderful example of how Canadian films are breaking into new territory in a big way.’
      • ‘Apologies for last week, but lethargy and apathy set in in a big way.’
  • make it big

    • informal Become very successful or famous.

      • ‘Since he was a child Matthew dreamed of making it big, of being a player in a country where more than half of the national wealth is controlled by a handful of families.’
      • ‘After a series of setbacks during the past 12 months, the industry now feels rejuvenated with family themes making it big at the box-office.’
      • ‘You want to talk about someone who's making it big?’
      • ‘A year earlier he had taken the Premiership by storm - scoring eight goals in 34 starts - a talented teenager making it big in a man's world.’
      • ‘‘Many successful entrepreneurs suffered failures before they made it big,’ he notes.’
      • ‘Every band dreams of making it big but we were just happy having fun really.’
      • ‘They have no dream of making it big in racing - they just want to get behind the wheel.’
      • ‘Most people think of success as making it big in power and money.’
      • ‘For every successful cartoonist who makes it big, there are thousands of other equally talented artists that go completely unrecognized.’
      • ‘I spent a few years playing in a garage band and the biggest failure there was we never really tried to make it big.’
  • talk big

    • informal Talk boastfully or overconfidently.

      ‘Henry was new to the job but he was already talking big’
      • ‘His detractors on both left and right, however, say he talked big but accomplished little.’
      • ‘As for the minister, this won't be the first time he has talked big but achieved much less.’
      • ‘The retail company talked big but delivered little for consumers.’
      • ‘My dad was the type who talked big about getting a new car, but rarely acted.’
      • ‘Rogers and all of the others who talked big back at the beach began to change when we got to the replacement area in Belgium.’
      • ‘A couple of my co-workers have met the challenge, and a couple of them have failed miserably, although they talked big about it afterwards.’
      • ‘Behind the green baize bravado was quite evidently a character who talked big when the chips were up, but folded when it came to real life.’
      • ‘If, however, he doesn't stand firm, he will be ridiculed as someone who talked big and couldn't stand the heat in the kitchen.’
      • ‘She is not a person who talks big; she is just studiously working away.’
      • ‘Toad talked big about all he was going to do in the days to come, while stars grew fuller and larger all around them, and a yellow moon, appearing suddenly and silently from nowhere in particular, came to keep them company and listen to their talk.’
      brag, boast, crow, bluster, exaggerate
      View synonyms
  • think big

    • informal Be ambitious.

      • ‘Under his chairmanship, the club thought big and aimed high - then ultimately fell hard when the dreams failed to come true and the lavish spending off the pitch failed to translate into success on it.’
      • ‘It has a wonderful under-age structure and everybody involved in the club thinks big about all issues, always wanting to improve.’
      • ‘The logo is the mark of a bank thinking big and growing into an ambitious and resplendent entity.’
      • ‘It thinks big, has a vision of the future and measures each step it will take.’
      • ‘Donald learned the business from his father, but with a twist: He thought big, very BIG.’
      • ‘This gives them a double chance, and must give them the incentive to think big.’
      • ‘In business terms and culturally we are very similar: a small people thinking big, and I urge any ambitious company to go for it.’
      • ‘I have always thought big and it seems to have paid off.’
      • ‘‘I went in thinking big and the idea got pared down a bit,’ she says.’
      • ‘His energy was unflagging, he thought big and bold.’
  • too big for one's boots

    • informal Conceited.

      • ‘I don't know how I'm going to get paid, but I'd rather go out into the brave new world than live with dinosaurs that are far too big for their boots.’
      • ‘Basically, they think you're too big for your boots and want you cut down to size.’
      • ‘After his eldest boy's graduation ceremony he said: ‘Don't get too big for your boots, son.’’
      • ‘I think that room is appearing again for the little man and people want to say to the big guys that they're getting too big for their boots.’
      • ‘They long ago became just too big for their boots.’
      • ‘There are plenty of applicants to fill the space left by a boy band who got too big for their boots.’
      • ‘If you've got wealth, privilege or exalted connections crowned with success, then in this country you are judged way too big for your boots and in need of an urgent reality check.’
      • ‘He's been getting far too big for his boots recently.’
      • ‘‘He told me never to be too big for your boots and always be friendly to everyone,’ she said.’
      • ‘She has no airs and graces and will put you in check if she thinks you're being too big for your boots - she's done it to me before.’
      conceited, full of oneself, cocky, boastful, arrogant, cocksure, above oneself, self-important, immodest, swaggering, strutting
      View synonyms

Origin

Middle English (in the sense ‘strong, mighty’): of unknown origin.

Pronunciation

big

/bɪɡ/