Big Deal

Meaning of Idiom ‘Big Deal’

big deal is something that is very important, special, or a matter of great interest. 1Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.,2Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.,3Jarvie, Gordon. Bloomsbury Dictionary of Idioms. London: Bloomsbury, 2009.

This idiom can also be used to mean “who cares?” or to express, ironically, that one does not consider a matter important or notable.


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Usage

This idiom is most often used in the negative, in the form of “it’s no big deal” or simply “no big deal.” In fact, it is used in this way so often that it may be appropriate to consider the negative version the primary idiom and big deal itself, a variation. Also, when “big deal” is used as a standalone utterance, it is often ironic or facetious and it meant to convey the opposite of the first meaning given above, that something that has been represented as important is not important (or impressive) at all.

Similar is the phrase “to make a big deal (out of something).” This is usually meant to convey that something unimportant or trivial has been represented or reacted to as if it was of great importance or very impressive or notable.

Examples Of Use

“We’re all going to get a big bonus this year. It’s a pretty big deal.”

“My parents always made a big deal about everything my sister did, even the most minor accomplishments!”

“I had a car accident today but it was no big deal. Just a minor fender-bender.”

“Thank you so much letting me use your computer to print my paper,” said Michelle. “I would have been in big trouble if I hadn’t turned it in on time.” “No big deal,” said Bill.

“I just landed a huge client today,” said Ethan. “Big deal! I landed two,” replied Harry.

Origin

Used since about 1940.

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Heacock, Paul. Cambridge Dictionary of American Idioms. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010.
2. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
3. Jarvie, Gordon. Bloomsbury Dictionary of Idioms. London: Bloomsbury, 2009.