big picture

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big picture

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.
See also: big, picture
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*big picture

the whole story of something; a complete view of something. (*Typically: get ~; have ~; give someone ~; know ~; see ~; show someone ~.) The sales manager gave us all the big picture this morning, and I'm more confused than ever.
See also: big, picture
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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.
See also: big, picture
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

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?”
See also: big, picture
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
In one experiment, the researchers told half of the participants that the rewards would be distributed a year from now (which would prompt big-picture thinking) and the other half were told they would be distributed tomorrow (less big-picture thinking).
In another experiment, the researchers had 106 students complete a task that prompted them to think in a big-picture way or in a more immediate, present-day way.
We will have articles on six of these big-picture topics: three this month and three more in our February issue.
Next month we will delve into three more big-picture themes: lightweighting, in-mold operations, and end-market opportunities.
Balanced brainiac: Kanoid's at his best when talking about big-picture goals and how others can achieve them in their own urban districts.
But avoiding overcompensating requires a big-picture view: a holistic, integrated approach that considers the cumulative value and impact of each decision on the total compensation package.
Not everyone is a big-picture thinker, but everyone thinks they are.
John Killacky, the former executive director of San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and now the arts and culture program officer for The San Francisco Foundation, sees the new superfund as a big-picture strategy.
Aggressive, big-picture thinking isn't exactly fostered when the only message heard is "cut-cut-cut."
Berman also stated that Gent was a "big-picture type of leader, and thus the aggressive move into Japan was largely his doing." He concludes that so long as Japan Telecom/J-Phone continue to execute on the turnaround in profitability, he sees no reason that the new president would try to interfere with Japan operations.
These high-level tasks would support an external-looking, organization-wide, big-picture view of the issues of RIM relative to the organization and industry.
Yet this evidence left big-picture biologists wondering about the real world.
A few executives informally controlled and communicated the company's key, big-picture issues with certain constituencies, while other departments focused on a number of micro issues.
A 2003, district-organized brainstorming meeting attended by 250 preschool and kindergarten teachers and administrators led to a five-year improvement plan covering little details like the lunch keypad and big-picture items like curriculum.
Some desire specific data, others want the big-picture. David Koib suggested a model that incorporated two axes (performingobserving and thinking-feeling).