American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A group, especially a political coalition, that accommodates people who have a wide range of beliefs, principles, or backgrounds: "[Lyndon] Johnson's . . . efforts to bring businessman and laborer, black and white, city dweller and dirt farmer into his big tent . . . seemed to mark him as a smoother” ( Time).
“I loafed up to the big tent with the flag, whence came the most hideous, droning, booming din; there was a staff-walloper climbing aboard his Water, a couple of Maharatta sentries on the fly, and a slim young fellow with a fair moustache sitting on a camp-stool, sketching.”
“It was during the afternoon performance, and the big tent was filled with women and children, when I went looking for Red Denny, the head canvas-man, who had walked off with my pocket-knife.”
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