Can "fantastic" mean exceedingly huge?

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77Cat77

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi, everyone!

I'm sorry for posting so much text as background.

The Olympic Games will be held in our country in four years' time.
As a great many people will be visiting the country, the government will be building new hotels, an immense stadium, and a new Olympic-standard swimming pool.
......
Workers will have completed the new roads by the end of this year.
By the end of next year, they will have finished work on the new stadium.
The fantastic modern buildings have been designed by Kurt Gunter.


from New Concept English, an English textbook.

I see from the website that many people in my country translate "fantastic" as extremely huge. Referring to dictionaries, however, I only find among its senses that, when combined with amount, "fantastic" means "exceedingly large or great".

My question is whether "fantastic" has the sense of "very big".

Thank you!
 
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    No. It means remarkable; strictly speaking it means something out of fantasy - too <something or other> to be real - metaphorically, of course. In itself, the term does not say in what respect it is remarkable; it could refer to size, but does not obviously do so.
     

    heypresto

    Senior Member
    English - England
    No, it doesn't mean 'very big'. It means 'marvellous/wonderful/superb/tremendous/remarkable'.

    The buildings may be very big, but that's not necessarily implied by 'fantastic'. Even the small ice cream kiosks etc could be fantastic.

    Cross-posted.
     

    77Cat77

    Senior Member
    Chinese
    Thank you Uncle Jack and Heypresto! You are the reason I love this forum. I'm an English teacher in my country. I'm honored to teach my students what I learned from you.
     
    When used alone (to a native English-speaker), fantastic means "wonderful," "awe-inspiring" or "incredible." It never means large or anything else having to do with size unless it is used specifically to modify another adjective that does relate to size. "I was struck by the fantastic enormity of the stadium!" In this case, the stadium is not just "enormous" - it's so enormous you can hardly believe it.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    however, I only find among its senses that, when combined with amount, "fantastic" means "exceedingly large or great".
    This is correct. "Fantastic" is a much over-used word. As an attributive adjective, it is usually only emphatic, and has no meaning of its own. Otherwise, it is as Uncle Jack describes in #2 and requires context to be understood.
     
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