big as life

Idioms & Phrases

big as life

Also, large as life. In person, as in And there was Mary, big as life, standing right in front of me. This phrase transfers the same size as in real life (life-size) to an actual appearance. Sometimes this term is embellished with and quite as natural, presumably alluding to a likeness of a person or thing that closely resembles the real thing. A similar addition is and twice as natural, which doesn't make sense. [Late 1800s]

  1. Also, larger than life; big as all outdoors. On a grand scale, as in The soap opera could well be called a larger-than-life drama, or That friend of his was as big as all outdoors. This phrase can be used either literally, for larger than life-size (second example) or figuratively. The phrase all outdoors has been used to compare something or someone to an immensity since the early 1800s.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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