big time

Definition: To be successful

Example: When Ruby’s album of ukulele cover songs sold more than a dozen copies, she knew she had hit the big time.


Big time‘ probably had its origin in late nineteenth century Vaudeville theatre. Performers were rated by popularity. ‘Small time‘ performers were just starting out or at the end of their careers. ‘Big time‘ performers were at the height of their popularity and were the headliners on the bill. These more popular artists spent longer on the stage than their counterparts, so they literally had ‘bigger time’ on stage. Please excuse Iddy’s poor English there. “Longer time’ would be grammatically more acceptable, but wouldn’t explain the situation as clearly.

Iddy’s probably been a bit pre-occupied to worry about his grammar. He’s been wondering how to wind up this particular clock.

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