Language: Old English
Origin: wid


1 adjective
wide1 S1 W1


a) measuring a large distance from one side to the other [= broad; ≠ narrow]:
a wide tree-lined road
a hat with a wide brim
wide smile/grin
As he ran toward me, his face broke into a wide grin.
b) measuring a particular distance from one side to the other:
How wide is the door?
The boat was nearly as wide as the canal.
five metres/two miles etc wide
The river is more than fifty yards wide.


[usually before noun] including or involving a large variety of different people, things, or situations:
a man with a wide experience of foreign affairs
Our aim is to bring classical music to a wider audience.
a wide range/variety/choice etc (of something)
This year's festival includes a wide range of entertainers.
holidays to a wide choice of destinations

in many places

[usually before noun] happening among many people or in many places:
The radio and newspapers gave the trial wide coverage.

a wide variation/difference/gap etc

a large and noticeable difference:
the ever-wider gap between the richest and poorest countries

the wider context/issues/picture etc

the more general features of a situation, rather than the specific details:
We hope that by the end of the course students will be able to see their subject in a wider context.


literary wide eyes are fully open, especially when someone is very surprised, excited, or frightened:
Her eyes grew wide in anticipation.

give somebody/something a wide berth

to avoid someone or something

not hit something

not hitting something you were aiming at
wide of
His shot was just wide of the goal.

the (big) wide world

especially spoken places outside the small familiar place where you live:
Soon you'll leave school and go out into the big wide world.

nationwide/city-wide etc

affecting all the people in a nation, city etc:
a country-wide revolt against the government

wide, thick, broad
Wide is used to talk about the distance across something such as a road or river. It is also used to talk about the distance from one side to the other of an object a doorway two metres wideThick is usually used to talk about the distance between the two largest surfaces of an object The steel doors are four inches thick.Broad can often be used instead of wide, but it is slightly literary broad, graceful avenuesBroad is always used with shoulders and back a big man with broad (NOT wide) shouldersWide is used with nouns such as range, variety, and choice to say that something includes a lot of different things.Broad is used with nouns such as outline, picture, and description to say that a description is general rather than specific.

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