I’d like to know the implication of “small” and “big”

Instead of “She’s short.” can I say, “She’s small.”?
Instead of “She’s tall.” can I say, “She’s big.”?
I’d like to know the implication of “small” and “big” when describing people’s appearance.
Also another question is that instead of “When I was a child,” can I say, “When I was small”?


In general, tall and short refer to a person’s height, while big and small refer to a person’s bulk.

Big can apply to a person’s height, but it’s just as likely to refer to a person’s weight.

As an example, Shaquille O’Neal‎ is big. Dikembe Mutombo is tall.

big and tall

This isn’t to say that Shaquille is not tall, or that Dikembe is not big. However, if you were describing someone I didn’t know, and you said, “She’s big,” I’d assume you were talking about her dress size more than her height. Similarly, words like small or tiny can refer to height or body type, so they are much more vague than short, which alludes to height only.

Source : Link , Question Author : tennis girl , Answer Author : J.R.

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