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« On the plain meaning of 3/4" | Main | Watch this »

June 01, 2004


Rethabile Masilo

America is a big place, both physically and idiomatically. There is a certain kind of fascination that Americans have with bigness: A Whopper or a Big-Mac is more stylish than a hamburger; Americans drive in cars that are big enough to double as bedrooms; Someone who overeats is not fat but big (Did you see how big that guy was?)

Small is wimpy, big is bad (in the Michael Jackson sense of the word). American sports reflect more of the same: football (big, oomph), basketball (tall, flying), baseball (far, home run).

It is no wonder, therefore, that "big" figures a lot in American English:
As big as Texas (thanks for this one, SC);
As big as a football field;
As big as a barn;
What's the big idea?;
You're gonna be in big trouble;
It's not a big deal;
Somebody's big brother or sister;
The big book of [insert your product here];

Can you help with the many that I think I've forgotten?

The way you tweak "Texas" to find adjectival derivatives is interesting. America may indeed be right in thinking big. Everything over there is so....big.


West Springfield is shaped like Texas and three times as big.


"Texanic" is at least better than "Texish," a made-up word my mom used to use when referring to something that was characteristic of Texas in some way she was too lazy to define. :)


You forgot to mention one of the star attractions of the Hall of State: its magnificent air conditioning system.

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