big Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “big” in the English Dictionary

"big" in British English

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bigadjective

uk   us   /bɪɡ/ (bigger, biggest)
  • big adjective (LARGE)

A1 large in ​size or ​amount: He's a big man. Could I ​try these ​shoes in a bigger ​size? They have a big ​house in the ​country. She has ​blondehair and big ​blueeyes. She had a big ​payrise. I had a great big ​slice of ​chocolatecake for ​dessert. A thousand ​people took ​part in the region's biggest evercyclerace.informal You write ​August with a big (= ​capital) "a".informal She's always been a big spender (= she has always ​spent a lot of ​money).informal You're not a very big eater, are you? (= You do not ​eat a lot.)A2 informal older or more like an ​adult: Her big (= ​older) sister/​brother told her to go away. I'm ​ashamed of you. You're big enough to ​knowbetter (= at an ​age where you should ​know that ​yourbehaviour is not ​acceptable).C2 [before noun] informal used to ​addemphasis: You're a big ​bully! He ​fell for her in a big way (= was ​greatlyattracted to her).

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  • big adjective (IMPORTANT)

A2 important, because of being ​powerful, or having a lot of ​influence or a ​seriouseffect: He had a big ​decision to make. There's a big ​difference between ​starting up a ​business and just ​talking about it. The big ​story in the ​news this ​week is the mayor's ​resignation. The four biggest ​banks are all ​planning to ​cuttheirservicecharges.be big somewhere/in sth informal to be ​important or ​famous in a ​particularplace or ​type of ​work: They're big in Japan, but no one's ​heard of them here.C1 informal If a ​product or ​activity is big, it is ​extremelypopular: Hip-hop is still big today.

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(Definition of big from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"big" in American English

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bigadjective [-er/-est only]

 us   /bɪɡ/ (-gg-)
large in ​size or ​amount: a big ​ant/man/​building/​city Do you have these ​shoes in a bigger ​size? He ​tried to ​impress his ​friends by using big words. She got a big ​raise. I had a ​great big ​slice of ​chocolatecake. This is the region’s biggest ​bicyclerace. Big can also ​mean to a ​largedegree: a big spender/eater infml Big can also ​meanolder: a big ​sister/​brother infml Big can also be used to ​addemphasis: You’re a big ​bully!
important, because of being ​powerful, ​influential, or having a ​seriouseffect: He had a big ​decision to make about his ​future. There’s a big ​difference between ​starting up a ​business and just ​talking about it. The big ​story in the ​news this ​week is the ​blizzard in the ​Midwest. We just ​bought a ​house, so today’s a big ​day for us. infml If a ​product or ​activity is big, it is ​extremelypopular: Those ​toys are very big in Japan.
(Definition of big from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"big" in Business English

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bigadjective

uk   us   /bɪɡ/ informal
too big to fail BANKING, FINANCE describing a ​bank that is so important to the ​economy of a country that the ​government will give it ​publicmoney to prevent it from ​failing. This ​happened with many big ​banks between 2008-2009. : UK ​taxpayersfundedbanksthought too big to ​fail to the ​tune of ​billions of ​pounds, which makes the latest round of ​publicspendingcuts very hard to take. Who was it said that if a ​bank is too big to ​fail, it's too big?
(Definition of big from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“big” in British English

“big” in American English

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