What is the difference between "Big", "Huge", "Massive", "Large" and "Enormous"?

ChatGPT 3.5 says:

  1. "Big" is a general term for something larger than average.
  2. "Large" is similar to big but may imply a more substantial or significant size.
  3. "Huge" suggests something very large or massive, typically larger than "big" or "large."
  4. "Massive" implies an even greater size or mass, often used for things that are exceptionally large or heavy.
  5. "Enormous" is the strongest these words, indicating something extremely large or gigantic.

Okay so as far as I understand, we can write:

Big < Large < Huge < Massive < Enormous

Is this correct?

  • Ask yourself: Which of these adjectives would you use for a 6kg newborn? Which would you use figuratively, as hyperbole, which would sound more objective?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 10 at 6:27
  • 2
    Huge, massive, and enormous, in certain situations, are virtually interchangeable.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 10 at 6:28
  • 4
    I’m voting to close this question because it is based on the pronouncements of an AI bot. Sep 10 at 10:25

2 Answers 2


"Big" and "Large" imply roughly the same size. The choice of one or the other is mostly a matter of idiom or personal choice.
enter image description here Image from xkcd is a humorous take on this.

We say "Big enchilada", but "Large format", "big end" but "large flying fox", however both "big frog" and "large frog" seem acceptable.

The others mean something is exceptionally large, and again the choice may be a matter of choice, or may be guided by idiom. So we would have

{big ≈ large} < {enormous ≈ massive ≈ huge}

The words may have some technical meanings also, massive can mean "having mass" in physics

  • Yes, massive usually implies 'very large and heavy'. Sep 10 at 8:18

One grammatical distinction is that "big" and "large" are gradable adjectives, while "huge", "massive" and "enormous" are extreme adjectives. As with most cases, the extreme adjectives have a stronger meaning.

Within those categories, "big" and "large" are mostly interchangeable, and "huge", "massive" and "enormous" are too.

One shade of difference between "big" and "large" is that "a large X" almost always means something like a bigger X than average, whereas "a big X" can mean a big thing relative to the person seeing it, and it was an X. For example:

We saw a big whale.
We saw a large whale.

The "big" phrase could refer any whale because all whales are big compared to us. The "large" phrase, on the other hand, refers to a whale that's bigger than the average whale.

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