big

/bIg/ adjective comparative bigger superlative biggest
1 SIZE of more than average size, amount, weight etc: a big house | Your baby's getting big! | a big increase in prices | the biggest hotel in New York | She had a big grin on her face. | great big spoken (=extremely big): There was this great big spider in the sink.
-see wide 1
2 IMPORTANT important and serious: a big decision | Buying your own house is a big commitment.
3 SUCCESSFUL/POWERFUL informal successful or popular especially in business or entertainment: Rap music was really big in the 1980s. | It's becoming quite a big area for tourism.
(+ in): She's very big in the music business. | make it big (=become very successful): After years as a small-time actor, he suddenly made it big in Hollywood. | the big boys (=the most powerful and influential people or companies): Small firms like ours can't really compete with the big boys. -see also: big cheese, big name name 1 (4), big noise, big shot shot 1 (19), big time
4 OLDER spoken
a) big sister/brother your older sister or brother
b) used especially when speaking to children to mean older or more grown-up: Come on, don't cry. You're a big girl now.
5 BAD (only before noun) spoken used to emphasize how bad something is: It's always such a big hassle finding some place to park. | I never said that, you big liar!
6 A LOT (only before noun) informal doing something to a very large degree: a big eater/drinker/spender etc: Des is a big gambler you know. | be a big fan/admirer of (=admire someone very much): I've never been a big fan of REM.
7 BIG DEAL spoken
a) big deal used to say that you do not think something is as important or impressive as someone else thinks it is: So what if he is upset about it? Big deal!
b) it's no big deal used to say that something is not really important or not a big problem: It's no big deal if you can't come - just let us know in time.
c) make a big deal (out) of to treat something as if it is more important than it really is: Why do you have to make such a big deal out of it?
8 have big ideas/plans to have impressive plans for the future: I've got big plans for this place.
9 what's the big idea? spoken used when someone has done something annoying, especially when you want them to explain why they did it: Hey, what's the big idea? Who said you could use my computer?
10 it is big of sb to do sth spoken
a) used to say that someone was very kind or generous to do something
b) used when you really think that someone was not kind or helpful at all: A whole $5! That was very big of her, I must say!
11 big money also big bucks AmE informal a lot of money, or the chance to earn a lot of money: You should go into merchant banking. That's where the big money is.
12 big mouth spoken someone who has a big mouth cannot be trusted to keep things secret: Oh God, me and my big mouth!
-see also: bigmouth
13 be/get too big for your boots informal to be too proud of yourself
14 use/ward/wield the big stick informal to threaten to use your power to get what you want
15 big with child old use soon going to have a baby; pregnant
16 big enchilada humorous AmE the most important person; the boss
-see also: think big think 1 (17) - bigness noun (U) USAGE NOTE: BIG WORD CHOICE big, large, great Big and large are both often used to talk about or to talk about the measurements of things or groups, though large is slightly more formal and not so often used of people: That shirt doesn't fit me - it's too big/large. | How big are you round the waist? | a big crowd/company/gap | a large family/city/university. See also fat WORD CHOICE and wide WORD CHOICE. None of these words are used with uncountable nouns for things you can touch: There was a lot of traffic/land /space (NOT big traffic, large land). Great means famous or important for something good, or, when it is used about ordinary people, just extremely nice: Rembrandt was a great painter. | Isn't Max a great guy? See also famous WORD CHOICE. Great used about the size of things or events is mainly found in literary writing or names and means `very large and impressive': The great city of Samarkand. | A great crowd had gathered. | a great banquet | The Great Wall of China. Otherwise great is used very informally of things just to mean extremely good: You look great! | There's a great view from our hotel room. | We had a great time there (=enjoyable, not necessarily long). You would usually use great rather than big to describe the size or extent of things you cannot touch: She showed great courage/talent/ability. | We had great fun. | in great detail. Where both can be used, great is stronger and suggests more importance: It's a big/great pleasure to see you. | great/big problem/opportunity/danger. But note that you usually say a big difference/mistake/argument | It isn't a big deal (informal=It's not serious or important). Note that large (less often great or big) is used with these quantity words: a large amount, number, extent, percentage, volume / area. But note only great is used in: a great deal (=a lot) | at great length | a great height/age

Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.

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