Meaning of Idiom ‘By and Large’
By and large means generally; usually; everything considered; speaking broadly. 1Spears, Richard A. McGraw-Hill’s American Idioms Dictionary. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008.,2Ayto, John. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms. Oxford: Oxford U, 2010.
Examples Of Use
“By and large, the fundraiser was successful.”
“By and large, you can trust people to do the right thing,” said Michelle.
“I believe that, by and large, you have to lead by example if you expect to be respected as a leader.”
It’s been a grueling trip but, by and large, I’m glad I went.”
This idiom has it’s origin in 17th century sailing jargon where by and large meant to steer a ship as close to the wind as possible but not precisely into the wind. Steering this way was near enough to the wind but not so ear as to make steering difficult. By the early 1700s the term had taken on its present figurative meaning. 3Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.
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