“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic.”

J.K. Rowling

“Big Huge”…this phrase leaps out at you from every corner. It bellows from the mouths of television stars, winks at you from newspaper columns, surfs the web on popular sites, and even echoes from our own lips. Like an eager explorer claiming new lands, it’s laid its claim across the conversational landscape, unfurling from coast to coast.

How on earth did “big huge” muscle its way into our everyday language, and take a stand as the de facto term for something large? What bright-eyed school kid was the first to spit it out, not knowing they were lighting a linguistic spark that would set ablaze our conversations in one of the most widely spoken languages on the planet?

I may be the only one climbing this mountain of linguistic curiosity, but I refuse to believe I’m the only one noticing this wildfire of a phrase.

Isn’t the word “huge” a large enough bucket to hold the mammoth magnitude of an object, issue, or event? Are words like “colossal”, “astronomical”, and “mammoth” not wearing enough of a dramatic cape to depict the titanic tale of Shaquille O’Neill’s humongous feet?

Let’s ponder these questions, as I unfurl my discontent with this phrase. It’s not just its omnipresence that grinds my gears. It’s its yawning lack of linguistic inventiveness. It’s as if we’ve abandoned the playground of word creation.

For instance, take “ginormous”. What a delight of a word! It’s like a dance between gigantic and enormous. When something is so gigantic it casts enormous in its shadow, that’s when we whip out “ginormous”. Bravo, word wizards!

Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Perhaps my mind is just shooting off sparks after long work hours? The answer…probably.

But words matter. They aren’t tiny pebbles in the river of life; they’re the boulders that shape the flow! They’re big. They’re huge. They’re a monumental combination of both.

But they’re definitely, most certainly, not “big huge”.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Product + Content Marketing at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2024 Stephen Boudreau.