General English

  • adjective of a large size


  • used to describe a wine with a full, rich flavour, normally as a good point but sometimes implying that the wine is not elegant. When describing red wines, it normally refers to wine with high levels of tannin and alcohol, e.g. Barolo or Châteauneuf-du-Pape. When describing white wines it normally refers to wines with high levels of alcohol or glycerol.

Origin & History of “big”

Big is one of the notorious mystery words of English etymology – extremely common in the modern language, but of highly dubious origin. In its earliest use in English it meant ‘powerful, strong’, and it is not really until the 16th century that we get unequivocal examples of it in the modern sense ‘large’. It occurs originally in northern texts, only slowly spreading south, which suggests that it may be of Scandinavian origin; some have compared Norwegian dialect bugge ‘important man’.