Difference Between Big and Large

Big vs Large

When it comes to big and large, there seems to be no difference in meaning, or so it seems. Anything that is big is obviously large too, isn’t it? The fact is that both big and large imply the same meaning but the difference between the two lies in the context they are being used. This is a subtle difference the two words. Let us take a closer look.

When you go to a shopping mall, you know your size and ask for a large size T-shirt and not a big T-shirt. The sizes are large, and extra large and not big and extra big. Similarly, you ask for a large peg of whisky at the bar and not a big peg, don’t you? We have big brothers and not large brothers, and we have big sale where we get large discounts. There is the biggest star in Holly wood and not the largest star as it would seem funny to talk about an actor as being a large star.


In fact, both big and large are words that refer to things and people more than average in size. These adjectives are often used interchangeably as they have similar meanings. Of the two, it is big that is used more often. Big is also used to mean things other than size such as big moment in life (important time in life), big decision in a company (implies very important decision), no big deal signifies something not very important, while someone who is described as a big mouth is a person who exaggerates.


Large is used as an adjective for an inanimate object such as a large house, a large river, a large amount of money, a large country, and so on. However, it is also used to describe more than average sized animals such as a large whale, a large bear, a large dog, and so on. Mostly, large is used to refer to spaces or areas.


What is the difference between Big and Large?

• Large and big are adjectives used to refer to all things more than average size and this includes living things.

• There are different contexts where one of the two adjectives is to be used. In all other situations, either of the two adjectives can be used freely to indicate that they are synonyms and hence interchangeable.

• Big is also used to imply something very important such as in big moment in life, big decision etc.


  • Sanaullah

    This is what I have learned after reading so many comments and discussions. Large is mostly related to size and big is used both for size and to give quality or praise something. A large shop, a big star, a large shirt, a big heart.