American English

Definition of big adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    see also bigs (bigger, biggest)
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  1. 1large in size, degree, amount, etc. a big man/house/increase This shirt isn't big enough. It's the world's biggest computer company. (informal) He had this great big grin on his face. They were earning big money. The news came as a big blow.
  2. older
  3. 2(informal) older You're a big girl now. my big brother
  4. important
  5. 3[only before noun] important; serious a big decision Tonight is the biggest match of his career. You are making a big mistake. She took the stage for her big moment. (informal) Do you really think we can take on the big boys (= compete with the most powerful people)?
  6. ambitious
  7. 4(informal) (of a plan) needing a lot of effort, money, or time to succeed They're full of big ideas.
  8. popular
  9. 5(informal) popular with the public; successful Orange is the big color this year. big in… The band's very big in Japan.
  10. enthusiastic
  11. 6(informal) enthusiastic about someone or something I'm a big fan of hers.
  12. doing something a lot
  13. 7doing something often or to a large degree a big eater/drinker/spender
  14. generous
  15. 8big of somebody (usually ironic) kind or generous He gave me an extra five dollars for two hours of work. I thought, “That's big of you.”
    noun [uncountable]
  17. Which Word?big / large / greatThese adjectives are frequently used with the following nouns:
    big ~large ~great ~
    Large is more formal than big and should be used in writing unless it is in an informal style. It is not usually used to describe people, except to avoid saying “fat.” Great often suggests quality and not just size. Note also the phrases:a large amount of a large number of a large quantity of a great deal of in great detail a person of great age.
    be/get too big for your boots/britches
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    to be/become too proud of yourself; to behave as if you are more important than you really are
    a big cheese (informal) (humorous)
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    an important and powerful person, especially in an organization
    the big enchilada (informal) (humorous)
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    the most important person or thing
    a big fish (in a small pond)
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    an important person (in a small community)
    the big picture (informal)
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    the situation as a whole Right now, we need to forget the details and take a look at the big picture.
    a big shot/name
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    an important person
    the big stick (informal)
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    the use or threat of force or power The authorities used quiet persuasion instead of the big stick.
    the big three, four, etc.
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    the three, four, etc. most important countries, people, companies, etc. She works for one of the Big Six.
    somebody's eyes are bigger than their stomach
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    used to say that someone has been greedy by taking more food than they can eat
    give somebody/get a big hand
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    to show your approval of someone by clapping; to be applauded in this way Ladies and gentlemen, let's give a big hand to our special guests tonight…
    have bigger/other fish to fry
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    to have more important or more interesting things to do
    in a big/small way
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    on a large/small scale The new delivery service has taken off in a big way. Many people are investing in a small way in the stock market.
    make a (big) thing of/about something (informal)
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    to make something seem more important than it really is
    Mr. Big (informal)
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    the most important man in a group, especially the leader of a group of criminals
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: big