Etymology: Middle English, perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Norwegian dialect bugge important man
Date: 14th century
a. obsolete of great strength
b. of great force <a big storm> 2. a. large or great in dimensions, bulk, or extent <a big house>; also large or great in quantity, number, or amount <a big fleet> b. operating on a large scale <big government> c. capital 1 3. a. pregnant; especially nearly ready to give birth b. full to bursting ; swelling <big with rage> c. of the voice full and resonant 4. a. chief, preeminent <the big issue of the campaign> b. outstandingly worthy or able <a truly big man> c. of great importance or significance <the big moment> d. imposing, pretentious; also marked by or given to boasting <big talk> e. magnanimous, generous <was big about it> 5. popular <soft drinks are very big in Mexico — Russ Leadabrand> 6. full-bodied and flavorful — used of wine • bigly adverb • bigness noun II. adverb Date: 1807 1. in a loud or declamatory manner; also in a boasting manner <talk big> 2. a. to a large amount or extent <won big> <lost big> b. on a large scale <think big> <worry big> 3. hard <hits her forehand big> III. noun Date: 1965 an individual or organization of outstanding importance or power; especially major league — usually used in plural <playing in the bigs>
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.