Difference Wiki

Big vs. Little: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Updated on September 30, 2023
"Big" refers to large size, amount, or degree, while "little" denotes small size, amount, or degree.

Key Differences

"Big" and "little" are straightforward adjectives that refer to the size of an object, amount, or degree. "Big" is used to describe something that is large in size, extent, or amount compared to others of its kind, emphasizing magnitude or dimension. On the contrary, "little" is used to depict something small in size, amount, or degree, suggesting reduced dimensions or quantity.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023
Both terms, "big" and "little," can be utilized to describe physical dimensions of objects, like a big mountain or a little stone, expressing the comparison of their sizes in a literal sense. Additionally, they can denote the extent or amount of non-physical entities, such as big ideas or little interest, serving to contrast the magnitude or significance of abstract concepts.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023
These adjectives can also express relative importance or significance. A "big" decision is one with significant consequences, whereas a "little" mistake may have minor implications. It’s about the impact or the weight that the described object, action, or situation carries. So, "big" and "little" work beyond mere physical measurements, indicating the level of importance or influence.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023
In a broader sense, "big" can also imply adulthood or maturity, as in “big brother,” contrasting with "little" depicting youth or immaturity, as in “little sister.” It indicates the comparative age or maturity level of individuals, symbolizing their development or growth stages. Here, "big" and "little" function metaphorically to represent different life stages or relative ages.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023

Comparison Chart

Definition

Large in size, amount, or degree.
Small in size, amount, or degree.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023
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Application

Used to describe physical and non-physical entities.
Used to describe physical and non-physical entities.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023

Relative Importance

Denotes greater importance or significance.
Implies lesser importance or significance.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023

Age Connotation

May imply adulthood or maturity.
May suggest youth or immaturity.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023

Measurements

Represents larger measurements or quantities.
Represents smaller measurements or quantities.
Sara Rehman
Sep 30, 2023

Big and Little Definitions

Big

Mature or grown-up.
He’s a big boy now and can dress himself.
Harlon Moss
Sep 30, 2023
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Little

Small in size or amount.
She has a little puppy.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023

Big

Generous or abundant.
He has a big heart and always helps others.
Harlon Moss
Sep 30, 2023

Little

Young or immature.
He is still a little child.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023

Big

Intense or severe.
We are in big trouble.
Harlon Moss
Sep 30, 2023

Little

Of minor importance or significance.
It’s just a little problem, nothing to worry about.
Janet White
Sep 30, 2023

Big

Of considerable size, number, quantity, magnitude, or extent; large.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Expressing affection or diminution.
Let me give you a little kiss.
Janet White
Sep 30, 2023

Big

Having great strength or force
A big wind.
In a big rage.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Short in duration or distance.
The store is a little way down the road.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 30, 2023

Big

Of great significance; momentous
A big decision.
A big victory.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Small in size
A little dining room.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Mature or grown-up
Big enough to take the bus by herself.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Small in quantity or extent
A little money.
A little work on the side.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Older or eldest. Used especially of a sibling
My big brother is leaving for college next week.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Short in extent or duration; brief
There is little time left.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Filled up; brimming over
Felt big with love.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Unimportant; trivial
A little matter.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Bountiful; generous
Had a big heart.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Narrow; petty
Mean little comments.
A little mind consumed with trivia.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Pregnant
Big with child.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Having scant power or influence; of minor status
Just a little clerk in the records office.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Having or exercising considerable authority, control, or influence
A big official.
A big chief.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Being at an early stage of growth; young
A little child.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Conspicuous in position, wealth, or importance; prominent
A big figure in the peace movement.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Younger or youngest. Used especially of a sibling
My little brother is leaving for college next week.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Loud and firm; resounding
A big voice.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Not much; scarcely
Works long hours, sleeping little.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

(Informal) Widely liked, used, or practiced; popular
"The Minneapolis indie-rock band was big in the blogosphere, beloved by hipsters, and unknown to pretty much everyone else" (Robert Levine).
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Not in the least; not at all
They little expected such a generous gift.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

(Informal) Self-important; cocky
You're too big for your own good.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

A small quantity or amount
Give me a little.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

In a pretentious or boastful way
Talked big about the new job.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Something much less than all
I know little of their history.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

With considerable success
Made it big with their recent best-selling album.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

A short distance or time
A little down the road.
Waited a little.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

In a thorough or unmistakable way; emphatically
Failed big at the box office.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Small in size.
This is a little table.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Of great size, large.
Elephants are big animals, and they eat a lot.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Insignificant, trivial.
It's of little importance.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

(informal) Fat.
Gosh, she is big!
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

(offensive) Used to belittle a person.
Listen up, you little shit.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Large with young; pregnant; swelling; ready to give birth or produce.
She was big with child.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Very young.
Did he tell you any embarrassing stories about when she was little?
That's the biggest little boy I've ever seen.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

(informal) Well-endowed, possessing large breasts in the case of a woman or a large penis in the case of a man.
Whoa, Nadia has gotten pretty big since she hit puberty.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

(of a sibling) Younger.
This is my little sister.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

(informal) Adult; (of a child) older.
Kids should get help from big people if they want to use the kitchen.
We were just playing, and then some big kids came and chased us away.
She did it all on her own like a big girl.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

(often capitalized) Used with the name of a place, especially of a country or its capital, to denote a neighborhood whose residents or storekeepers are from that place.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Old, mature. Used to imply that somebody is too old for something, or acting immaturely.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

(derogatory) To imply that the inhabitants of the place have an insular attitude and are hostile to those they perceive as foreign.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

.informal Mature, conscientious, principled; generous.
That's very big of you; thank you!
I tried to be the bigger person and just let it go, but I couldn't help myself.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Having few members.
Little herd
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

(informal) Important or significant.
What's so big about that? I do it all the time.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Operating on a small scale.
Little Steel (smaller steel companies, as contrasted with Big Steel)
Little Science (science performed by individuals or small teams, as contrasted with Big Science)
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Popular.
That style is very big right now in Europe, especially among teenagers.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Short in duration; brief.
I feel better after my little sleep.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

(of a city) Populous.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Small in extent of views or sympathies; narrow; shallow; contracted; mean; illiberal; ungenerous.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

(informal) Used as an intensifier, especially of negative-valence nouns
You are a big liar.
Why are you in such a big hurry?
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Not much.
This is a little known fact.
She spoke little and listened less.
We slept very little last night.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Operating on a large scale, especially if therefore having undue or sinister influence.
There were concerns about the ethics of big pharma.
Big money
Big Tech, Big Steel (large or influential tech or steel companies)
Big Science (science performed by large terms, of large scope, with government or corporate funding)
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Not at all.
I was speaking ill of Fred; little did I know that he was right behind me, listening in.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Enthusiastic (about).
I'm not big on the idea, but if you want to go ahead with it, I won't stop you.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Not much, only a little: only a small amount (of).
There is (very) little water left.
We had very little to do.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

In a loud manner.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Not much; not a large amount.
Little is known about his early life.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

In a boasting manner.
He's always talking big, but he never delivers.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

A small amount.
Can I try a little of that sauce?
Little did he do to make me comfortable.
If you want some cake, there's a little in the refrigerator
Many littles make a mickle. (Scottish proverb)
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

In a large amount or to a large extent.
He won big betting on the croquet championship.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

A child; particularly an infant.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

On a large scale, expansively.
You've got to think big to succeed at Amalgamated Plumbing.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

A newly initiated member of a sorority, who is mentored by a big.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Hard.
He hit him big and the guy just crumpled.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

The participant in ageplay who acts out the younger role.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

An important or powerful person; a celebrity; a big name.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

(countable) One who has mentally age regressed to a childlike state.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

(in the plural) The big leagues, big time.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Small in size or extent; not big; diminutive; - opposed to big or large; as, a little body; a little animal; a little piece of ground; a little hill; a little distance; a little child.
He sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

(university slang) A initiated member of a sorority who acts as a mentor to a new member (the little).
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Short in duration; brief; as, a little sleep.
Best him enough: after a little time,I'll beat him too.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

(BDSM) The participant in ageplay who acts out the older role.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Small in quantity or amount; not much; as, a little food; a little air or water.
Conceited of their little wisdoms, and doting upon their own fancies.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

One or more kinds of barley, especially six-rowed barley.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Small in dignity, power, or importance; not great; insignificant; contemptible.
When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes?
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

To inhabit; occupy.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Small in force or efficiency; not strong; weak; slight; inconsiderable; as, little attention or exertion;little effort; little care or diligence.
By sad experiment I knowHow little weight my words with thee can find.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

To locate oneself.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Small in extent of views or sympathies; narrow; shallow; contracted; mean; illiberal; ungenerous.
The long-necked geese of the world that are ever hissing dispraise,Because their natures are little.
The men, and the women, and the little ones.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

To build; erect; fashion.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

That which is little; a small quantity, amount, space, or the like.
Much was in little writ.
There are many expressions, which carrying with them no clear ideas, are like to remove but little of my ignorance.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

To dwell; have a dwelling.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

A small degree or scale; miniature.
A little, to or in a small degree; to a limited extent; somewhat; for a short time. " Stay a little."
The painter flattered her a little.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Having largeness of size; of much bulk or magnitude; of great size; large.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

In a small quantity or degree; not much; slightly; somewhat; - often with a preceding it.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Great with young; pregnant; swelling; ready to give birth or produce; - often figuratively.
[Day] big with the fate of Cato and of Rome.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

A small amount or duration;
He accepted the little they gave him
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Having greatness, fullness, importance, inflation, distention, etc., whether in a good or a bad sense; as, a big heart; a big voice; big looks; to look big. As applied to looks, it indicates haughtiness or pride.
God hath not in heaven a bigger argument.
I talked big to them at first.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Limited or below average in number or quantity or magnitude or extent;
A little dining room
A little house
A small car
A little (or small) group
A small voice
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Barley, especially the hardy four-rowed kind.
"Bear interchanges in local use, now with barley, now with bigg."
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

(quantifier used with mass nouns) small in quantity or degree; not much or almost none or (with `a') at least some;
Little rain fell in May
Gave it little thought
Little hope remained
Little time is left
We still have little money
A little hope remained
A little time is left
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

To build.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Of short duration or distance;
A brief stay in the country
In a little while
It's a little way away
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Above average in size or number or quantity or magnitude or extent;
A large city
Set out for the big city
A large sum
A big (or large) barn
A large family
Big businesses
A big expenditure
A large number of newspapers
A big group of scientists
Large areas of the world
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Not fully grown;
What a big little boy you are
Small children
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Significant;
Graduation was a big day in his life
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

(informal terms) small and of little importance;
A fiddling sum of money
A footling gesture
Our worries are lilliputian compared with those of countries that are at war
A little (or small) matter
Mickey Mouse regulations
A dispute over niggling details
Limited to petty enterprises
Piffling efforts
Giving a police officer a free meal may be against the law, but it seems to be a picayune infraction
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Of very great significance;
Deciding to drop the atom bomb was a very big decision
A momentous event
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

(of a voice) faint;
A little voice
A still small voice
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Conspicuous in position or importance;
A big figure in the movement
Big man on campus
He's very large in financial circles
A prominent citizen
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Younger brother or sister;
Little brother
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Very intense;
A bad headache
In a big rage
Had a big (or bad) shock
A bad earthquake
A bad storm
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Lowercase;
Little a
Small a
E.e.cummings's poetry is written all in minuscule letters
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Loud and firm;
A big voice
Big bold piano sounds
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Small in a way that arouses feelings (of tenderness or its opposite depending on the context);
A nice little job
Bless your little heart
My dear little mother
A sweet little deal
I'm tired of your petty little schemes
Filthy little tricks
What a nasty little situation
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Prodigious;
Big spender
Big eater
Heavy investor
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Little

Not much;
He talked little about his family
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

(of animals) fully developed;
An adult animal
A grown woman
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Marked by intense physical force;
A big wind
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Feeling self-importance;
Too big for his britches
Had a swelled head
He was swelled with pride
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Older brother or sister;
Big sister
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Exhibiting self-importance;
Big talk
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Generous and understanding and tolerant;
A heart big enough to hold no grudges
That's very big of you to be so forgiving
A large and generous spirit
A large heart
Magnanimous toward his enemies
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Given or giving freely;
Was a big tipper
The bounteous goodness of God
Bountiful compliments
A freehanded host
A handsome allowance
Saturday's child is loving and giving
A liberal backer of the arts
A munificent gift
Her fond and openhanded grandfather
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

In an advanced stage of pregnancy;
Was big with child
Was great with child
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Extremely well;
His performance went over big
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

In a boastful manner;
He talked big all evening
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

On a grand scale;
Think big
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

In a major way;
The play failed big at the box office
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 11, 2022

Big

Large in size or extent.
The big tree overshadowed the smaller plants.
Harlon Moss
Sep 30, 2023

Big

Of great significance or impact.
She had a big role in the project’s success.
Sara Rehman
Sep 30, 2023

FAQs

Is "big" always a positive adjective?

No, "big" can be neutral, positive, or negative, depending on context.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023

Can "little" refer to amount or degree?

Yes, "little" can denote a small amount or degree, as well as small size.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023

Is "little" always used to describe physical size?

No, "little" can also describe amount, degree, or significance.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 30, 2023

Is "big brother" about the physical size of the brother?

Not necessarily; "big brother" often refers to an older or more mature brother.
Aimie Carlson
Sep 30, 2023

Can "big" describe non-physical things like ideas?

Yes, "big" can describe the significance or extent of abstract concepts like ideas.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023

Can "little" imply a reduced level of importance?

Yes, "little" can indicate that something is of minor importance or significance.
Janet White
Sep 30, 2023

Can "little" denote youth or immaturity?

Yes, "little" can suggest youth, immaturity, or a lesser stage of development.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023

Can "little" be used to express affection?

Yes, "little" can be used as a term of endearment or to express affectionate diminution.
Janet White
Sep 30, 2023

Does "big" always imply something positive?

No, "big" can imply negative aspects as well, like a big problem.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023

Can "big" only refer to size?

No, "big" can also refer to amount, degree, importance, or significance.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023

Can something be both "big" and "little" in different aspects?

Absolutely, something might be big in size but little in importance, for example.
Janet White
Sep 30, 2023

Can "big" be used metaphorically?

Yes, "big" can be used metaphorically to describe importance, maturity, or other abstract concepts.
Harlon Moss
Sep 30, 2023

Can "big" refer to adulthood?

Yes, "big" can metaphorically refer to being grown-up or mature.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023

Can "big" and "little" be used relatively?

Yes, what is considered big or little can vary depending on what it is being compared to.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023

Can "little" refer to a short duration?

Yes, "little" can denote a short duration or distance.
Sawaira Riaz
Sep 30, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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