After you read this answer, you may need some good cheer.
1. large, as in size, height, width, or amount: a big house; a big quantity.
2. of major concern, importance, gravity, or the like: a big problem.
3. outstanding for a specified quality: a big liar; a big success.
4. important, as in influence, standing, or wealth: a big man in his field.
5. grown-up; mature: big enough to know better.
6. elder: my big sister.
7. doing business or conducted on a large scale; major in size or importance: big government.
8. consisting of the largest or most influential companies in an industry: Big steel wants to lower prices, but the smaller mills don't.
9. Informal. known or used widely; popular: Nouvelle cuisine became big in the 1970s.
10. magnanimous; generous; kindly: big enough to forgive.
11. boastful; pompous; pretentious; haughty: a big talker.
12. loud; orotund: a big voice.
13. (of clothing or a clothing design) made of or distinguished by voluminous fabric that is loosely or softly shaped and fitted: a big shirt; the big look.
14. (of a wine) having more than average flavor, body, and alcoholic content.
15. filled; brimming: eyes big with tears.
16. Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S. pregnant.
17. Obsolete. very strong; powerful.
18. Informal. boastfully; pretentiously: to act big; to talk big.
19. Informal. with great success; successfully: to go over big.
20. the bigs, Sports Slang. the highest level of professional competition, as the major leagues in baseball.
21. be big on, to have a special liking or enthusiasm for: Mother is big on family get-togethers.
22. big with child. great (def. 23).
1250–1300; ME big(ge) < ?
1. huge, immense; bulky, massive; capacious, voluminous; extensive. See great.
15. overflowing, flooded.
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1150–1200; ME biggen orig., to inhabit < ON byggja to inhabit, c. OE bū(i)an, G bauen
1400–50; late ME big, bigge < ON bygg barley, c. OE bēow
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009.
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large, boastfully, vauntingly, momentous, prominent
adj. big·ger, big·gest
Of considerable size, number, quantity, magnitude, or extent.
Of great force; strong: a big wind; in a big rage.
Obsolete Of great strength.
Mature or grown-up: big enough to take the bus by herself.
Older or eldest. Used especially of a sibling: My big brother is leaving for college next week.
Pregnant: big with child.
Filled up; brimming over: felt big with love.
Having or exercising considerable authority, control, or influence: a big official; a big chief.
Conspicuous in position, wealth, or importance; prominent: a big figure in the peace movement.
Of great significance; momentous: a big decision; a big victory.
Informal; Widely liked, used, or practiced; popular: "For public opinion . . . has grown harsh and yuppie-bashing is big" (Sally Jacobs).
Informal; Self-important; cocky: You're too big for your own good.
Loud and firm; resounding: a big voice.
Bountiful; generous: had a big heart.
In a pretentious or boastful way: talked big about the new job.
With considerable success: made it big with their recent best-selling album.
In a thorough or unmistakable way; emphatically: failed big at the box office.
[Middle English, perhaps of Scandinavian origin.]
big'gish adj., big'ly adv., big'ness n.
Word Origin & History
c.1300, northern England dialect, "powerful, strong," of unknown origin, possibly from a Scand. source (cf. Norwegian dial. bugge "great man"). Meaning "of great size" is c.1386; that of "grown up" is attested from 1552. Sense of "important" is from 1577. Bigass (adj.) is 1940s military slang. Bigwig is from 1781, from the large wigs formerly worn by men of importance. Big band as a musical style is from 1926; Big Bang in astrophysics theory popularized (and possibly coined) by Brit. astronomer Fred Hoyle in a 1950 book. Slang big head "conceit" is first recorded 1850. Big business is 1905; big house "penitentiary" is U.S. underworld slang first attested 1915 (in London, "a workhouse," 1851). In financial journalism, big ticket items so called from 1956.