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Difference between Have a big time and Make the big time

have a big time—(coll.) enjoy oneself (also: have a great time):

  • Christ, doesn’t time flit by when you’re having a big time and all?

Note: The expression does not correlate in meaning with the phrase have a big dayused of a day on which important things happen:

  • We are going to have a big day tomorrow; we are going to hike up to base camp at almost 14000 feet.

make the big time—(also: reach the big time) gain recognition; win success:

  • Caryl had finally made the big time as a criminal…. Local newspapers carried the story on their front pages.