Definition of big adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//bɪɡ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//bɪɡ//
    see also bigs (bigger, biggest)
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  1. 1  large 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. Which Word?big / large / greatThese adjectives are frequently used with the following nouns: big man/​house/​car/​boy/​dog/​smile/​problem/​surprise/​question/​difference large numbers/​part/​area/​room/​company/​eyes/​family/​volume/​population/​problem great success/​majority/​interest/​importance/​difficulty/​problem/​pleasure/​beauty/​artist/​surprise 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.
  2. older
  3. 2  (informal) older my big brother You're a big girl now.
  4. important
  5. 3  [only before noun] (rather informal) 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 colour this year. big in… The band's very big in Japan.
  10. enthusiastic
  11. 6(informal) enthusiastic about somebody/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 pounds for two hours' work. I thought ‘That's big of you’. More Like This Consonant-doubling adjectives big, drab, fat, fit, flat, hot, mad, red, sad, wetSee worksheet.
  16. Word OriginMiddle English (in the sense ‘strong, mighty’): of unknown origin.Extra examples He was a short man with great big glasses. The whole story is just a big fat lie. This house is rather big for us. We need something smaller. This is a fairly big decision to make. We were hoping the show would be a really big success. a potentially big drawback Do you really think we can take on the big boys? He was a big man—tall and broad-shouldered. It’s a big decision to have to make. It’s the world’s biggest computer company. She took the stage for her big moment. There’s been a big increase in prices. This house is too big for us now. This shirt isn’t big enough.Idioms
    be/get too big for your boots
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    to be/become too proud of yourself; to behave as if you are more important than you really are See related entries: Proud
    (informal, humorous) an important and powerful person, especially in an organization (informal, ironic) used to say that you are not impressed by something So he earns more than me. Big deal! (North American English, informal, humorous) the most important person or thing
    a big fish (in a small pond)
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    an important person (in a small community)
    (British English, informal) a weak man, who is not brave or confident an important person (informal) the situation as a whole Right now forget the details and take a look at the big picture. (informal) 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 somebody 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 somebody by clapping your hands; 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
    1. 1to be bad at keeping secrets
    2. 2to talk too much, especially about your own abilities and achievements
    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
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    (informal) to make something seem more important than it really is
    (informal) used when you realize that you have said something that you should not have said (informal) used to say that something is not important or not a problem If I don't win it's no big deal.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: big