21 Idioms with BIG 😃 you can use in different situations


Idioms with big

Idioms with big:

To be an important / successful person

To be a big deal

To be an important / famous person, especially in a specific location / area of work.

  • I hear she’s a big deal in Biochemical engineering nowadays.
  • That’s her! She’s a big deal in local politics.

big cheese idiom examples

To be the big cheese

Very informal. To be an important / influential person, especially in an area of work / company. ‘The big cheese’ is often used to talk about the boss or manager.

  • He’s the big cheese at Google.
  • She’s the big cheese of the HR department.

To be a big shot

An important, successful or influential person. However, ‘big shot’ can have negative connotations and is often used sarcastically.

  • I haven’t seen you in a while. I heard you became a big shot in the city. I’m surprised you still have time for us.
  • Alright big shot, don’t spend all your millions all in one go.

To be a big fish in a small pond

Someone who is very successful but only in a very limited area, and only because there isn’t much competition.

  • She likes being a big fish in a small pond because then she knows she’ll do well.
  • If he went to London he wouldn’t think quite so highly of himself. Here he’s a big fish in a small pond.

To become successful

To make the big time

To become successful in something you do – often earning a lot of money.

  • When he made the big time he took everyone to the most expensive restaurant in town to celebrate.
  • Most people don’t make the big time until they’ve been working for at least 20 years.

other ways to say successful, ahead of the curve, ahead of the pack, get something off the groundTo make it big

To become successful in something you do – often earning a lot of money.

  • She made it big on Broadway back in 2007 and has never looked back.
  • His dream is to make it big so that he can pay off his mortgage and live debt-free.

Play in the big leagues

Comes from sport – to play at the highest level. To be involved in something important or of big proportions. Often used in business when someone is promoted or starts doing work that has a bigger impact.

  • She’s been promoted to regional manager. She’s playing in the big leagues now!
  • You have to work much harder than that if you want to play in the big leagues.

Big break

An opportunity or turn of events that leads to success. A big break is often used for people involved in the arts (artists, actors etc.), to talk about one specific opportunity that led to their work being recognised and to them being successful.

  • She had her big break in 2009 and the phone hasn’t stopped ringing since!
  • Her big break was something she never expected – an independent film with a small budget.

Top 20 Success Idioms List

Positive idioms with big

be positiveThink big

To be ambitious.

  • You have to think big to achieve great things.
  • Thinking big is the key to accomplishing your biggest goals.
  • She thinks big. She’ll go far.

To be big hearted

Adjective used to describe an aspect of a person’s personality. If someone is big hearted they are kind, caring and compassionate.

  • My mum’s too big hearted for her own good. She’s always helping people – even if she can’t really afford to!
  • I’ve never met someone quite as big hearted as you. You’re really special.

Negative idioms with big

To have bigger fish to fry

To be worried about more important or more urgent problems.

  • I know you’ve misbehaved but I can’t deal with you right now. There’s a burst water pipe in the kitchen and I can’t find your brother. I’ve got bigger fish to fry.
  • She didn’t worry about the bad press her campaign was getting, after all, she had bigger fish to fry.

Be big of (someone)

If an action is big of someone, it’s good, kind or helpful. However, this idiom is usually used sarcastically when the person using it thinks that the other person could do a lot more.

  • It was really big of you to spare a whole minute for me yesterday.
  • You haven’t even called her yet to see how she’s doing? That’s big of you.

NegativeTo be big headed

To be conceited or arrogant. Used as an adjective to describe a person’s personality.

  • He’s so big headed. All he talks about is himself.
  • She’s not big headed, but she often comes across that way to new people she meets.

To give someone a big head

To praise someone so much that they start thinking very highly of themselves.

  • Don’t tell him he’s good-looking. You’ll give him a big head.
  • You’ll give her a big head with all those compliments! She won’t even be able to fit through the door by the time you’re done!

Getting too big for your boots

Behaving as if you are more important than you actually are. Acting like you’re better than other people. Having a very high opinion of yourself. Used negatively.

  • Have you seen Sarah lately? Since she got promoted she’s been getting far too big for her boots.
  • Alright, stop it. You’re getting far too big for your boots and I’ve had enough!

To be a big mouth

Adjective used to describe an aspect of a person’s personality. It means they tell people things they shouldn’t, for example secrets.

  • Don’t tell Josh about your promotion. You know he’s a big mouth and everyone will know by lunch time.
  • Don’t be such a big mouth! Can’t you keep a secret for once in your life?

Other idioms with big

To see the big picture

To focus on the most important parts of a situation, rather than the smaller details.

  • In my line of work I really need to focus on the big picture or it won’t all fit together at the end.
  • Is anyone seeing the big picture around here? If we don’t start focussing now we’ll never get this project delivered on time!

bathroom vocabulary picture, take a shower:bath, have a shower:bath, have a washTo be big on (something)

To be interested in something, to enjoy something a lot or to think something is particularly important.

  • Make sure you say please and thank you and call her Mrs Jones. She’s big on politeness.
  • He’s not big on hugs so don’t be surprised if all he does is shake your hand.

A big ask

Informal. To ask someone to do something for you or for a favour that is difficult, time consuming or inconvenient for the person you’re asking. ‘A big ask’ can also be used sarcastically, if the person thinks they have asked for something easy but that hasn’t been done.

  • I know it’s a big ask, but is there any chance you could pick Charlie up from school for me today?
  • Is it really a big ask for us to have lunch together once every couple of months?

To make a big deal (of something)

To exaggerate a situation, put a lot of focus on something or someone or build up the importance of something.

  • Please don’t make a big deal out of this, but I forgot to buy milk at the shops.
  • Let’s all try to make a big deal of her today, she’s worked really hard and she really deserves it.

Big time

Informal. A lot or to a great extent. Used to emphasise an action.

  • You owe me big time for that favour I did you last week.
  • He needs to apologise big time for what he’s done to me.

50 Popular English Idioms to Sound Like a Native Speaker

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments