the big picture(redirected from big picture, the)
1. noun The general, overall, or long-term scheme of something, as opposed to the specific details or present preoccupations. I know that one parking ticket isn't important in the big picture, but I'm really annoyed about it right now. You need to focus on the big picture here, and stop getting bogged down in the day-to-day operations. That's what we're paying you for as a high-level manager.
2. adjective Of or describing such a scheme. These are big picture projections. We'll worry about the details later.
the big ˈpicture(informal, especially American English) the situation as a whole: Right now forget the details and take a look at the big picture.
the big picture
The overall or long-range view of a situation. This phrase, which implies that details will be omitted in favor of presenting a bird’s-eye view, dates from the second half of the twentieth century. Originally American, it was used by Time magazine (Sept. 19, 1977): “The Bunyanesque extrovert who cheerfully mangled facts in his haste to paint the big picture.” In Britain the term was used from the first half of the 1900s to describe the feature film in a movie presentation. However, British usage now is the same as the American. Stella Rimington’s 2004 thriller, At Risk, had it: “Clyde, might I propose that, if they’ve got the time, we show our guests around? Give them the big picture?”