from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Of greater than average size, extent, quantity, or amount; big.
  • adj. Of greater than average scope, breadth, or capacity; comprehensive.
  • adj. Important; significant: had a large role in the negotiations; a large producer of paper goods.
  • adj. Understanding and tolerant; liberal: a large and generous spirit.
  • adj. Of great magnitude or intensity; grand: "a rigid resistance to the large emotions” ( Stephen Koch).
  • adj. Pretentious; boastful. Used of speech or manners.
  • adj. Obsolete Gross; coarse. Used of speech or language.
  • adj. Nautical Favorable. Used of a wind.
  • idiom at large Not in confinement or captivity; at liberty: a convict still at large.
  • idiom at large As a whole; in general: the country at large.
  • idiom at large Representing a nation, state, or district as a whole. Often used in combination: councilor-at-large.
  • idiom at large Not assigned to a particular country. Often used in combination: ambassador-at-large.
  • idiom at large At length; copiously.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Of considerable or relatively great size or extent.
  • n. An old musical note, equal to two longas, four breves, or eight semibreves.
  • n. Liberality, generosity.
  • n. A thousand dollars.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Exceeding most other things of like kind in bulk, capacity, quantity, superficial dimensions, or number of constituent units; big; great; capacious; extensive; -- opposed to small
  • adj. Abundant; ample.
  • adj. Full in statement; diffuse; full; profuse.
  • adj. Having more than usual power or capacity; having broad sympathies and generous impulses; comprehensive; -- said of the mind and heart.
  • adj. Free; unembarrassed.
  • adj. Unrestrained by decorum; -- said of language.
  • adj. Prodigal in expending; lavish.
  • adj. Crossing the line of a ship's course in a favorable direction; -- said of the wind when it is abeam, or between the beam and the quarter.
  • adv. Freely; licentiously.
  • n. A musical note, formerly in use, equal to two longs, four breves, or eight semibreves.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Ample in dimensions, quantity, or number; having much size, bulk, volume, extent, capacity, scope, length, breadth, etc., absolutely or relatively; being of more than common measure; wide; broad; spacious; great; big; bulky: opposed to small or little, and used of both corporeal and incorporeal subjects: as, a large house, man, or ox; a large plain or river; a large supply, assembly, or number of people; to deal on a large scale or with large subjects; to seek a larger sphere; a man of large mind or heart; a large manner in painting; the largest liberty of action; to confer large powers upon an agent; large views.
  • Full; complete.
  • Ample or free in expenditure; liberal; lavish; prodigal; extravagant.
  • Ample or liberal in words; diffuse; free; full; extended: applied to language.
  • Free from restraint; being at large.
  • Free from moral restraint; broad; licentious.
  • Clamorous; boisterous; blatant.
  • Free; favorable as regards direction; fair: applied to the wind. See large, adv., 3.
  • Synonyms Big, etc. (see great); capacious, expansive, spacious.
  • n. Freedom; unrestraint: in the phrase at large (which see, below).
  • n. In old musical notation, a note properly equivalent in value either to three or to two longs, according to the rhythm used. Also called a maxima or maxim. It was variously made, as when used at the end of a piece its time value was often indefinite.
  • n. Bounty; largess.
  • n. At liberty; without restraint or confinement: as, to go at large; to be left at large.
  • n. At length; in or to the full extent; fully: as, to discourse on a subject at large.
  • n. In general; as a whole; altogether.
  • n. For the whole; free from the customary limitation. In the United States a congressman at large is one elected by the voters of a whole State instead of those of a single district; which is done when the existing apportionment by districts does not provide for all the representatives to which the State is entitled. In some places an alderman or a supervisor at large is elected by a whole city or county, in addition to those elected by wards or townships.
  • To get free.
  • Largely; broadly; freely; with license.
  • Fully; at large.
  • Nautical, before the wind; with the wind free or on the quarter, or in such a direction that studding-sails will draw: as, to go or sail large.
  • Full; at full; in all.
  • “Big”; boastfully.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. above average in size or number or quantity or magnitude or extent
  • adj. generous and understanding and tolerant
  • adj. conspicuous in position or importance
  • adj. fairly large or important in effect; influential
  • adv. with the wind abaft the beam
  • adv. in a boastful manner
  • adj. ostentatiously lofty in style
  • adj. having broad power and range and scope
  • n. a garment size for a large person
  • adv. at a distance, wide of something (as of a mark)
  • adj. in an advanced stage of pregnancy


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English, from Old French, from Latin largus, generous.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English large, from Old French large, from Latin larga, feminine of largus ("abundant, plentiful, copious, large, much"). Displaced Middle English stoor, stour ("large, great") (from Old English stōr) and muchel ("large, great") (from Old English myċel).



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  • In my household, we refer to ourselves this way. To differentiate from our "medium", which is the cat, and the "smalls" which are the the pocket-pets (rodents). A feral house-mouse is, then, similarly small, little or, better tiny; and insects are tiny or wee. If we had a ferret, I suspect it would be smallish or not-quite-medium]

    December 15, 2006