Definition of big in US English:

big

adjective

  • 1Of considerable size, extent, or intensity.

    ‘big hazel eyes’
    ‘big buildings’
    ‘big cuts in staff’
    • ‘The club has also provided uniforms for staff and held a big party for the children to celebrate the announcement of the grant.’
    • ‘He said, you'll have to take a big cut in salary and you'll have to start at the bottom.’
    • ‘We are a very small organisation and we are not staffed up to handle big surges in communication.’
    • ‘Within a few minutes the men cut down two big branches from the tree.’
    • ‘Using a biscuit or scone cutter, cut out rounds as big or as little as you like.’
    • ‘Police are hunting the thieves, who cut a big hole in the fence to get to the aluminium.’
    • ‘He's been politically committed and has taken big cuts in his salary to make these kinds of films.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A big cut back in the number of council vans which we see all over the town would save a large amount of money.’
    • ‘Watching the top downhillers, you are struck by their size: they tend to be big, muscular and solid.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They cut the big organic pasture next door yesterday, carting the hay away to be dried safely elsewhere.’
    • ‘If your lawn is too big to cut without a rider, set aside a portion of your lawn for a push mower.’
    • ‘A big cut in the dividend is inevitable, further undermining the case for holding the shares.’
    • ‘Replacing council tax with a fair local tax would mean big tax cuts for ordinary families.’
    • ‘I had to present Michael with a great big sabre to cut the cake - we had a real laugh with it.’
    • ‘All the tests have proved negative but the sample size is not big enough to draw any firm conclusions.’
    • ‘Soon, Casper began cutting the material with big scissors, and pinning them on Freya.’
    • ‘The brand is a well made children's line, which is cut on the big size for plenty of wear.’
    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 Of a large or the largest size.
      ‘my big toe’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was around this time that Tim developed frostbite on his big toe.’
      • ‘Yesterday's blister got a little worse and grew to the big toe region.’
      • ‘Again there is a difference between big and little toes as far as further treatment is concerned.’
      • ‘It can affect anywhere but usually attacks the big toes or feet and ankles.’
      • ‘The big toe is the classic place to find it, but it can affect other areas too.’
      • ‘There can also be a characteristic thickening of the skin over the lower legs and on the tops of the feet or big toes.’
      • ‘I stick plasters on three toes to prevent blisters, and a gel cushion on my big toes to protect my toenails.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The jury found him not guilty of one charge of grievous bodily harm - a fractured big toe on the child's left foot.’
      • ‘Raise yourself onto the balls of both feet, pushing down onto your big toes.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He had distinctive brown eyebrows, wore dentures and was missing the big toe on his right foot.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She remembered that she could just wriggle her right big toe and hoped that someone would notice.’
      • ‘A bunion is an abnormal, bony bump that forms on the joint at the base of your big toe.’
      • ‘They were unable to save his left leg but used the big toe to replace his right thumb.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2 Grown up.
      ‘I'm a big girl now’
      • ‘She warned him again, "Jason, remember that mommy thinks you're a big boy now."’
      • ‘Mama scolded me for crying, because I was a big girl, not a baby to cry like little Hope.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘“Now quit crying and be a big boy. There’s nothing to be afraid of.”’
      • ‘I can say this because Anvar is a big girl now and a very successful journalist.’
      • ‘Anastasia just smiled, loving the fact that she was being called a big girl and a baby at the same time.’
      • ‘“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.’
      • ‘When I'm big, I'll be a policeman.’
      • ‘The school didn't have a uniform and like a big girl I spent forever trying to figure out what to wear.’
      • ‘The big girls and boys, who were already five, were allowed to bring me up and show it to me.’
      • ‘I should be surprised if he were not big enough and mature enough to handle it.’
      • ‘Anyway, she wanted to be a big girl and to prove her parents how independent she could be.’
      • ‘She knew Mommy was busy, so she decided to be a big girl and take a bath all by herself.’
      • ‘"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."’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If she gets in the way, it's unfortunate, but she's a big girl, she knows the score.’
      grown-up, adult, mature, grown, full grown
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3 Elder.
      ‘my big sister’
      • ‘Still and silent, he didn't look like my big brother, who was always there to protect me.’
      • ‘Little sisters are doing it for themselves, with a helping hand from their big sisters.’
      • ‘Next to him sat my big sister and my mom, both staring at me, waiting for my reaction.’
      • ‘She had lots of friends, but she clung on to her big sister Samantha, who she idolised.’
      • ‘The only bad thing was that he couldn't share his happiness with anyone but his big sister.’
      • ‘With her big sister, Stephanie, who is also an accomplished violinist, she grew up in the region.’
      • ‘The little boy frowned and then he seemed to notice that his big sister was not alone in her room.’
      • ‘So there you go, my big sister, at the age of 37 has finally found someone she wants to settle down with.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Since your big sister is away, this could be a good time for you and your mom to get closer.’
      • ‘Then our big sisters said it was time to go and see Santa when I was still throwing snowballs.’
      • ‘Jamie hopes to reach dizzy heights just like big sister Amanda.’
      • ‘My big brother and I were running toward the riverbank.’
      • ‘Our dad nodded again and left the room as quickly as he had entered, leaving me alone with my big sister again.’
      • ‘If he can cast my big sister out, he wouldn't think twice about casting me out.’
      • ‘She is going to be a nurse like her big sister, Margaret, who is nursing locally.’
      • ‘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.’
      older, senior, first, firstborn, more grown up
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4informal On an ambitiously large scale.
      ‘a small company with big plans’
      • ‘How might a small software company with big ambitions draw vast amounts of free advertising press coverage?’
      • ‘It is apparent that this young girl has big dreams and she is doing whatever she can to make them reality.’
      • ‘Although his dad has big ambitions for him, financial constraints are a problem.’
      • ‘She had big travelling plans happening in less than a month and assumed she wouldn't see him again.’
      • ‘The children helped plan the big occasion and chose who the happy couple were to be.’
      • ‘For once, they are the big spenders, with the big ambitions and better players.’
      • ‘Plans for the big day have been plagued by problems ever since it was announced two weeks ago.’
      • ‘He knows he is joining a big club with big ambitions and those ambitions match his own.’
      • ‘I hope they don't have any big plans to try and make me into a pop star or something.’
      • ‘Since then the pair have been inseparable and were looking forward to their big day, planned for this July.’
      • ‘These are complemented by a mix of bars and lounges where entertainment comes on a big scale or in intimate surroundings.’
      • ‘Its ambition was to create big films that could make an impact on the US market.’
      • ‘But we are certainly not going to be giving up big assets which we have really big plans for.’
      • ‘But Debbie may not have much spare time for long because she has big plans for the future.’
      • ‘While the project has barely begun, Thomas already has big plans for the course.’
      • ‘Now these small islands are at the centre of a big plan to bring bring back luxury tourism.’
      • ‘"We have big plans for nuclear energy," he said at a joint briefing.’
      • ‘It is a black and white film about a teenaged girl with big dreams of becoming an actress.’
      • ‘If you were planning a big spend, particularly for household assets, go for it now.’
      • ‘But his big long term plan is to switch to a pay per mile system of distance charging.’
      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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 a big player of these types of games but thought I'd give this one a go.’
      • ‘Though she was not a big eater herself, she enjoyed making other people happy with her meals.’
      • ‘This character was very Keith, since he was almost as big of an eater as Munch was.’
      • ‘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 sleeper,” he declares, adding that his work on the show “isn’t hard — just time-consuming."’
      • ‘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 really a big eater of pies.’
      • ‘'My father is a big eater and my mother a good cook'.’
    6. 1.6informal Showing great enthusiasm.
      ‘a big tennis fan’
      ‘he tells me the Inuits of the Arctic are very big on Jim Reeves’
      • ‘Neither of us was really big on shopping, so we wanted to get it done as quickly as possible.’
      • ‘That's an honorable but perhaps ironic stance for a company which is big on its own inventiveness.’
      • ‘She is a keen photographer, is a big fan of basketball and is passionate about deep sea diving.’
      • ‘I have always been a big fan of stories about different background and cultures to my collection.’
      • ‘Japanese cookery is big on freshness, using produce in season and sourced locally, where possible.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The affable star is big on eye contact, and smiles easily and often.’
      • ‘As tourist must-sees go, this part of Brittany isn't big on manufactured attractions.’
      • ‘I can't pretend to be a big fan, but I liked him very much in that series with Zoe Wannamaker, Love Hurts.’
      • ‘Even if you're not a big football fan, last night's Champions League final was a cracker.’
      • ‘I'm a big fan of yours, Neil, and have been for a long, long while, but something lately has been bothering me.’
      • ‘The corporate market is not big on emotional responses to technology though.’
      • ‘Specifically he was probably rebelling against our parents, who were very big on doing everything right.’
      • ‘While I'm not a big fan of graphic novels, I realize they can be a powerful medium for personal expression.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I've never gone big on the fame thing, because that means a whole lot more.’
      • ‘He wasn't big on compliments, however when he did give them it was clear he meant them with all his heart.’
      • ‘The activities I liked best were arts and crafts, which my Mum is very big on.’
      • ‘He'd always been big on sports, mainly soccer and ice hockey, and it was evident.’
      • ‘My father had always been big on sports and had always wanted me to play sports as a kid.’
    7. 1.7big witharchaic Advanced in pregnancy.
      ‘my wife was big with child’
      figurative ‘a word big with fate’
      • ‘"Well, well, I was the first one to say that Marcelina was big with child, wasn't I? But of course no one would believe me."’
      • ‘So, as the tale tells, the queen soon knew that she was big with child.’
      • ‘She was quite big with child, and looked to be confined every hour.’
      • ‘Somehow, she would have to get the medicine, otherwise, who would employ her when she was big with child?’
      • ‘Adam longed to be in Christopher's position: looking at his wife's pretty face as he caressed her pregnant belly, getting big with his baby.’
  • 2Of considerable importance or seriousness.

    ‘it's a big decision’
    ‘Mark's biggest problem is money’
    ‘he made a big mistake’
    • ‘With the easy wisdom of perfect hindsight, the big mistake is obvious.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He doesn't wield any real power as long as the committee gets to make the big decisions.’
    • ‘She got it wrong on the restart, a little mistake but big consequences for everybody else.’
    • ‘Ministers undoubtedly made big mistakes in the handling of the crisis.’
    • ‘It was a big decision to donate my kidney, but it wasn't a problem in the end.’
    • ‘They thought their jobs were secure enough to make the big decision to buy a house.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘What would life be like without all the anxieties and pitfalls of big decisions?’
    • ‘Elections are not about issues, but for choosing which people we trust to make the big decisions on our behalf.’
    • ‘The touchstone of a great captain and team management is the ability to make big decisions.’
    • ‘It was a big mistake, but the things I learned from it made it a big mistake rather than a big failure.’
    • ‘I'm very aware of what a big decision it is, but it's not the right time.’
    • ‘That was my big mistake and I paid the price for ignoring similar advice.’
    • ‘And do discuss it fully with your family before going ahead, as it is a very big decision.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Oblivious to the signs and portents that he's making a very big mistake, he takes the job.’
    • ‘This was a big mistake and he always regretted the decision to give the plane to the museum.’
    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 Popular or exciting interest among the public.
      ‘Latino bands that are big in Los Angeles’
      • ‘The organising committee thank all who helped make the night such a big success for a very worthy cause.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He is so big over here in Europe, I'm not sure the Americans realise just how big.’
      • ‘The sport is so big over here, the grandstands were packed with people cheering and celebrating.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There is a reason that so few bands from Ireland make it internationally when they are so big over here.’
      • ‘She's not as big over here as some would have you believe, but she's still pretty successful.’
      • ‘The festival has been a big success this year with the children's events extremely popular.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It's easier to be big in America if you're already big in Britain.’
      • ‘American Football isn't big over here at all. It's a shame because any games I've seen have usually been pretty good.’
      • ‘"No other English footballer has ever really made it big over here," he said. "I'd love to be well-known in America."’
      • ‘When someone has had a big success it doesn't make much in the news.’
      • ‘He's big in Norway because he won two Olympic medals for that country and was knighted several years ago.’
      • ‘Yellow school buses are big in America. Now a company in Newport is trying to make them big over here too.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘All the sideshows and games attracted a lot of support and the bonny baby competition was a big success too.’
      • ‘This draw was a big success for both the club and the county board last year.’
      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’
      • ‘Growing up in the environment he did played a very big part in influencing his direction.’
      • ‘This in turn will have a very big influence on the prospects for partnership in the future.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And of course our family relationships are likely to play a big role in shaping ourselves.’
      • ‘Because of the greater variability in the consumers, research plays a big role.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Certainly Davis has been a big influence on it, for his philosophy as much as for those jazz influences.’
      • ‘Anyone with kids knows what a big influence the culture is on our kids and our future.’
      • ‘He was quick to point out that nurture plays a big role, not just our genes.’
      • ‘The element plays a big role, but you don't usually have much control over that.’
      • ‘I have to say that John Lennon was a really big influence, I think a lot of people found inspiration in his music.’
      • ‘We go over each game together and of course Wayne has been a big influence.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The monsoon has played a big role in reducing the passage time to the country.’
      • ‘My father was a footballer, having played for Shelbourne and Bohemians, and was a big influence on me.’
      • ‘His father, he realises now, was a big influence on him becoming a comic.’
      • ‘Of course, he is too good a player and too big an influence not to be missed.’
      powerful, important, prominent, influential, high-powered, leading, pre-eminent, of high standing, outstanding, well known, eminent, distinguished, principal, foremost, noteworthy, notable, noted
      View synonyms
  • 3ironic, informal predicative Generous.

    ‘“I'm inclined to take pity on you.” “That's big of you!”’
    • ‘Regardless, I thought that was big of him to take the responsibility.’
    • ‘That was mighty big of him, and he made sure I realized it.’
    • ‘That he’s allowed this sensitive information to be included in an episode of his own show is very big of him, ironically.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Alex, that's very big of you to admit you were wrong.’
    • ‘That was very big of you to admit your faults.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It was big of you to come out and say that you actually saw a Sunday matinee when it was still in theaters.’
    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’
    • ‘It is either time to big it up or to say good night.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I don't want to big it up too much, as then the whole experience might fail to meet my expectations.’
    • ‘United bigged him up on tour and then dropped him like a stone on his return to Manchester.’
    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 never made it to the bigs, but he knew his craft.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He got his first taste of the bigs in 1995, but he didn't stick until '98.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘His first exposure to the bigs was with the Pilgrims.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After an apprenticeship in the minors, a few umpires are picked to jump to the bigs.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If all goes well, I think it is possible that he could get a shot in the bigs sometime next year.’
    • ‘What are the most important metrics you use in evaluating whether a minor leaguer can be successful in the bigs?’
    • ‘But as the first minor-leaguer I followed to make good in the bigs, he holds a special distinction in my eyes.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He hopes his affordability will help him make it back to 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.’
    • ‘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.’

Phrases

  • the big screen

    • informal The movies.

      ‘the play was adapted for the big screen’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If you can imagine your idea on the big screen then its probably going to make a good film.’
      • ‘I suggest you see it when it hits the cinema, as films like this are designed for the big screen.’
      • ‘While the story sounds simple and interesting when told, on the big screen it is a different matter.’
      • ‘However, the inclusion of a few scenes here and there is not why you have to see this film on 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.’
      • ‘It is an epic that is perfect for the big screen and is well worth a trip to the cinema.’
      • ‘This was my first real scary movie on a big screen and I expected it to scare my soul away.’
      • ‘My only regret is that I didn't see it on the big screen when I had the chance.’
  • big shot

    • informal An important or influential person.

      • ‘Often, the talk his editors wanted was from big shots, businessmen promoting themselves or wallowing in rancor.’
      • ‘And the author found half a dozen business big shots who made the same claim.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I was a big shot in the fashion industry; I felt very important.’
      • ‘The ultimate top of the hierarchy is occupied by the big shots.’
      • ‘It was a supposedly staid gathering of local party big shots, including the deputy governor, a senator and the state attorney general.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • in a big way

    • informal On a large scale; with great enthusiasm.

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

    • informal Become very successful or famous.

      ‘Simon had made it big in the financial world’
      • ‘I spent a few years playing in a garage band and the biggest failure there was we never really tried to make it big.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Every band dreams of making it big but we were just happy having fun really.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They have no dream of making it big in racing - they just want to get behind the wheel.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You want to talk about someone who's making it big?’
  • talk big

    • informal Talk boastfully or overconfidently.

      ‘he talked big, blinding her with legal jargon’
      • ‘She is not a person who talks big; she is just studiously working away.’
      • ‘As for the minister, this won't be the first time he has talked big but achieved much less.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘His detractors on both left and right, however, say he talked big but accomplished little.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘My dad was the type who talked big about getting a new car, but rarely acted.’
      • ‘The retail company talked big but delivered little for consumers.’
      • ‘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.’
      brag, boast, crow, bluster, exaggerate
      View synonyms
  • think big

    • informal Be ambitious.

      ‘to trade in a heavyweight world market we must think big’
      • ‘I have always thought big and it seems to have paid off.’
      • ‘It thinks big, has a vision of the future and measures each step it will take.’
      • ‘It has a wonderful under-age structure and everybody involved in the club thinks big about all issues, always wanting to improve.’
      • ‘In business terms and culturally we are very similar: a small people thinking big, and I urge any ambitious company to go for it.’
      • ‘This gives them a double chance, and must give them the incentive to think big.’
      • ‘His energy was unflagging, he thought big and bold.’
      • ‘‘I went in thinking big and the idea got pared down a bit,’ she says.’
      • ‘Donald learned the business from his father, but with a twist: He thought big, very BIG.’
      • ‘The logo is the mark of a bank thinking big and growing into an ambitious and resplendent entity.’
      • ‘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.’
  • too big for one's britches (or breeches)

    • 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.’
      • ‘He's been getting far too big for his boots recently.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After his eldest boy's graduation ceremony he said: ‘Don't get too big for your boots, son.’’
      • ‘Basically, they think you're too big for your boots and want you cut down to size.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘He told me never to be too big for your boots and always be friendly to everyone,’ she said.’
      • ‘There are plenty of applicants to fill the space left by a boy band who got too big for their boots.’
      conceited, full of oneself, cocky, boastful, arrogant, cocksure, above oneself, self-important, immodest, swaggering, strutting
      View synonyms
  • big stick

    • informal The use or threat of force or power.

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

    • informal The dominant group of three, four, etc.

      ‘increased competition between the Big Three networks’
      • ‘However, the team's defense has grown in the shadows of the Big Three.’
      • ‘When that happened, many insiders started questioning the whole premise of the Big Three.’
      • ‘In about an hour, the Big Three east coast newspapers should e-publish tomorrow's editions.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The survey indicated that cost is more important to the Big Three than its foreign competitors.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 exhibition began with the famous photograph of the Big Three - Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin.’
      • ‘The Big Three, however, saw an emerging opportunity as boomers began buying second homes.’
      • ‘But the projections still don't look good, and already one of the Big Three has hit the rocks.’
  • 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.’
      • ‘It is, rather, sentimental, and sentimentality always goes over big in the commercial theater, so long as it's disguised as realism.’
      • ‘Figure out the answer to that and you are well on your way to finding gifts that will go over big.’
      • ‘I realize this will probably not go over big with a lot of CIOs - my saying they're hiding behind their technology.’
      • ‘Juggling also goes over big - especially with fire.’
      • ‘These ideas obviously went over big with our gift testers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The loss of the player to the Raiders didn't go over big with his former teammates.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
  • big with child

    • archaic Pregnant.

      • ‘After some months, the weary young girl, now big with child, came to the city of Torre-Longa.’
      • ‘My wife, big with child, was sitting in the rocking chair a few feet from me, and I was sitting by the table.’
      • ‘If anything happens to the woman I shall impute it to him, for she was big with child.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She was quite big with child, and looked to be confined every hour.’
      expecting a baby, having a baby, with a baby on the way, having a child, expectant, carrying a child
      View synonyms
  • the big idea

    • ironic A clever or important intention or scheme.

      ‘okay, what's the big idea?’
      • ‘Forget the music, it is the journey that's the big idea.’
      • ‘So a change in format will be the big idea that turns things around?’
      • ‘Its pastel-colour palette and cutout design was impressive because it managed to turn a relatively small space into a big idea.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘And what's the big idea of having a curfew at the hostel, locking the doors at midnight?’
      • ‘The Party can then look forward to another term on the opposition benches, waiting, no doubt, for the next big idea.’
      • ‘A successful government has to convert the country to its own big idea.’
      • ‘If ever there was a big idea translated into policy by a president that was it.’
      • ‘No doubt the plans for a regional parliament another bureaucratic big idea will bring even more burden to the over-stretched taxpayer.’
      • ‘The big idea here is to pay attention when watching.’
  • 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.’
      • ‘‘Climate change’; it sounds innocuous, but for some scientists it spells doom, to others it represents a big lie.’
      • ‘The leader has ‘bottomless wells of sincerity’, some commentators have said, that he draws on wonderfully when he tells his next big lie.’
      • ‘What the candidate has done here is told the big lie about embryonic stem cells.’
      • ‘The politician knows these facts but also knows his big lie will probably endure.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I believe that these charges are going to prove to be the ultimate big lie.’
      • ‘But there are still some observers pointing out the big lie.’
      • ‘The party has mastered the art of telling half truths and the big lie.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

big

/biɡ//bɪɡ/