big ( bigger comparative) ( biggest superlative )
1 adj A big person or thing is large in physical size.
(=large) (Antonym: small)
Australia's a big country..., Her husband was a big man..., The car was too big to fit into our garage.
2 adj Something that is big consists of many people or things.
(=large) (Antonym: small)
The crowd included a big contingent from Ipswich., ...the big backlog of applications.
3 adj If you describe something such as a problem, increase, or change as a big one, you mean it is great in degree, extent, or importance.
(=serious) (Antonym: small)
Her problem was just too big for her to tackle on her own..., There could soon be a big increase in unemployment.
4 adj A big organization employs many people and has many customers.
(=large) (Antonym: small)
Exchange is largely controlled by big banks., ...one of the biggest companies in Italy.
5 adj If you say that someone is bigin a particular organization, activity, or place, you mean that they have a lot of influence or authority in it.
INFORMAL ADJ n, v-link ADJ in n
Their father was very big in the army..., I'm sure all the big names will come to the club.
6 adj If you call someone a big bully or a big coward, you are emphasizing your disapproval of them.
INFORMAL ADJ n (emphasis)
7 adj Children often refer to their older brother or sister as their big brother or sister.
8 adj Capital letters are sometimes referred to as big letters.
INFORMAL ADJ n
...a big letter J.
9 adj Big words are long or rare words which have meanings that are difficult to understand.
INFORMAL usu ADJ n
They use a lot of big words.
10 If you make it big, you become successful or famous.
make it big phrase V inflects
We're not just looking at making it big in the UK, we want to be big internationally.
11 If you think big, you make plans on a large scale, often using a lot of time, effort, or money.
think big phrase V inflects
Maybe we're not thinking big enough.
12 If something is happening in a big way, it is happening on a large scale. INFORMAL
in a big way phrase PHR after v I think boxing will take off in a big way here.
People sometimes refer to the city of New York as the Big Apple.
INFORMAL n-proper the N
The main attractions of the Big Apple are well documented.
big band ( big bands plural ) A big band is a large group of musicians who play jazz or dance music. Big bands were especially popular from the 1930s to the 1950s. n-count
big bang theory
In astronomy the big bang theory is a theory that suggests that the universe was created as a result of an extremely large explosion. n-sing the N
People sometimes use Big Brother to refer to a person, government, or organization when they think it has complete control over people and is always checking what they do. n-uncount
It's an attempt to control what reaches the public. Big Brother is watching.
1 n-uncount Big business is business which involves very large companies and very large sums of money.
Big business will never let petty nationalism get in the way of a good deal.
2 n-uncount Something that is big business is something which people spend a lot of money on, and which has become an important commercial activity.
Sport has become big business.
big cat ( big cats plural ) Big cats are lions, tigers, and other large wild animals in the cat family. n-count
The big city is used to refer to a large city which seems attractive to someone because they think there are many exciting things to do there, and many opportunities to earn a lot of money. n-sing the N
...a country girl who dreams of the big city and bright lights.
1 n-sing If you say that something is a big deal, you mean that it is important or significant in some way.
INFORMAL I felt the pressure on me, winning was such a big deal for the whole family..., It's no big deal.
2 If someone makes a big dealout of something, they make a fuss about it or treat it as if it were very important.
make a big deal phrase V inflects, PHR out of/of/about n
The Joneses make a big deal out of being `different'.
3 convention You can say `big deal' to someone to show that you are not impressed by something that they consider important or impressive.
INFORMAL, feelings `You'll miss The Brady Bunch.'<emdash>`Big deal.'
big dipper ( big dippers plural ) A big dipper is a fairground ride that carries people up and down steep slopes on a narrow railway at high speed.
big fish ( big fish plural )
1 n-count If you describe someone as a big fish, you believe that they are powerful or important in some way.
INFORMAL, Antonym: small fry The four men arrested were described as really big fish by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency.
2 If you say that someone is a big fish in a small pond, you mean that they are powerful or important but only within a small group of people.
a big fish in a small pond phrase v-link PHR
In South Africa, Jani was a big fish in a small pond.
Large wild animals such as lions and elephants that are hunted for sport are often referred to as big game. n-uncount
big gun ( big guns plural ) If you refer to someone as a big gun, you mean that they have a lot of power or influence.
...the legal big guns who will prepare his defence.
big head ( big heads plural ) If you describe someone as a big head, you disapprove of them because they think they are very clever and know everything.
If you describe someone as big-headed, you disapprove of them because they think they are very clever and know everything. adj
...an arrogant, big-headed man.
If you describe someone as big-hearted, you think they are kind and generous to other people, and always willing to help them.
WRITTEN adj usu ADJ n (Antonym: mean-spirited)
...a big-hearted Irishman.
big hitter ( big hitters plural ) , big-hitter
1 n-count A big hitter is a sportsperson such as a golfer or tennis player who hits the ball with a lot of force.
The Uruguayan-born big-hitter smashed 28 aces.
2 n-count A big hitter is a powerful or influential person, especially in business or politics.
INFORMAL ...if Tony Blair fails to persuade a Cabinet big hitter to take on the job.
Big money is an amount of money that seems very large to you, especially money which you get easily. n-uncount
They began to make big money during the war.
big mouth ( big mouths plural ) If you say that someone is a big mouth or that they have a big mouth, you mean that they tell other people things that should have been kept secret.
Why don't you shut your big mouth?
big name ( big names plural ) A big name is a person who is successful and famous because of their work. n-count
...all the big names in rock and pop.
big noise ( big noises plural ) Someone who is a big noise has an important position in a group or organization.
When people talk about the big screen, they are referring to films that are made for cinema rather than for television. n-sing the N (Antonym: small screen)
She returns to the big screen to play Candy's overbearing mother, Rose.
big shot ( big shots plural ) A big shot is an important and powerful person in a group or organization.
He's a big shot in Chilean politics.
If you describe something as a big-ticket item, you mean that it costs a lot of money.
(mainly AM) adj ADJ n
Supercomputers are big-ticket items.
big time , big-time
1 adj You can use big time to refer to the highest level of an activity or sport where you can achieve the greatest amount of success or importance. If you describe a person as big time, you mean they are successful and important.
INFORMAL usu ADJ n
He took a long time to settle in to big-time football., ...a big-time investment banker.
2 n-sing If someone hits the big time, they become famous or successful in a particular area of activity.
INFORMAL the N
He hit the big time with films such as Ghost and Dirty Dancing.
3 adv You can use big time if you want to emphasize the importance or extent of something that has happened.
INFORMAL ADV after v (emphasis)
They screwed things up big time..., America lost big-time.
big toe ( big toes plural ) Your big toe is the largest toe on your foot. n-count
The large round tent that a circus uses for its performances is called the big top. n-sing
big wheel ( big wheels plural ) A big wheel is a very large upright wheel with carriages around the edge of it which people can ride in. Big wheels are often found at theme parks or fun fairs.
in AM, use ferris wheel