big head: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘big head’ mean?

The idiom "big head" is typically used to describe someone who is arrogant or full of themselves, often thinking highly of their own abilities or importance.

Idiom Explorer

Revealing the Connotation

The idiom "big head" is often used in American English to describe someone who is arrogant or overly confident. This person typically thinks highly of themselves due to their perceived intelligence or achievements. They tend to boast about their abilities or accomplishments, often in an exaggerated or boastful manner. This can be quite annoying or irritating, as it conveys a sense of entitlement and superiority. It's as if they believe they are better than others and deserve special treatment or recognition. This type of behavior is generally seen in a negative light, as it indicates a lack of humility and an inflated sense of self-importance.

Now, let's explore some related idioms that are connected to the concept of "big head." These idioms serve to further illustrate the different ways in which this notion is expressed in everyday language.

His conceit was evident in his arrogant smirk.

One related idiom is "with one's head held high." This expression is used to describe someone who is confident and proud of themselves, but in a more positive and self-assured way. It conveys a sense of dignity and self-respect, without the negative connotations of arrogance. When someone walks with their head held high, it shows that they have a strong sense of self and are not easily intimidated or discouraged by challenges.

Another related idiom is "big mouth." This phrase is often used to describe someone who talks a lot or boasts about their achievements, similar to the concept of a "big head." However, "big mouth" specifically emphasizes the person's tendency to speak without thinking or to brag in an obnoxious or annoying manner. It suggests that the person is not only confident but also overly verbose and lacking in social tact.

Lastly, we have the idiom "big name." This expression is used to describe someone who is well-known or famous, often in a particular field or industry. While "big head" focuses more on a person's inflated ego and arrogance, "big name" emphasizes their status or reputation. It suggests that the person's achievements or contributions have garnered them widespread recognition and respect.

The idiom "big head" encompasses multiple meanings related to arrogance, confidence, and self-importance. It can be used to describe someone who is boastful or excessively confident, as well as someone who has an inflated ego or thinks highly of themselves. The related idioms "with one's head held high," "big mouth," and "big name" further illustrate the different ways in which this concept is expressed in everyday language. However, language and idiomatic expressions are constantly evolving, so it's important to stay open-minded and aware of the ever-changing nature of communication.

Example usage

  • The manager has a big head and always takes credit for other people's ideas.

  • After winning the competition, Mark developed a big head and became arrogant.

  • Jessica's promotion went to her head and now she has a big head at work.

The idiom "big head" is used to describe someone who is arrogant or overly confident, often due to success or praise. It conveys the idea that this person's ego has become inflated and they have developed a sense of superiority. The first example sentence highlights how the manager takes credit for others' ideas, indicating a boastful and self-centered behavior. In the second sentence, winning the competition has caused Mark to become arrogant, demonstrating the negative impact success can have on one's attitude. Lastly, the third sentence showcases how Jessica's promotion has gotten to her head, causing her to become conceited and act superior to her colleagues.

More "Arrogance" idioms