has become an overused word in contexts that have little to do with mass:

• Yet another massive stage project, now previewing at the Aldwych, where it officially opens on June 19 —Times, 1980

• It's a trend set to turn this year's festive season on its head-the upside-down Christmas tree. The craze has been a massive hit in New York —Daily Record, 2007.

In many cases alternatives such as immense, enormous, substantial, powerful, impressive, or even huge or large, should be considered. In extended and figurative uses, massive is best reserved for contexts in which an image of vast size is appropriate:

• Riot police looked on impassively…as a massive crowd of mourners…gave the clenched fist Marxist salute —Times, 1977

• The most important area on which to concentrate was the massive amount of water required by the production of textiles —Daily Telegraph, 1992.

But use one of the alternative words when the image is unreal or forced:

• ☒ Women have massive amounts of love invested in fathers, lovers and sons, and many of these women despise the systems their own men may be helping to sustain —B. Cant et al., 1988.

In 21c youth slang massive has acquired the meaning ‘very popular’, and from about 1990 the word has been used informally as a noun in the sense ‘a group of young people from a particular area’ (as in the Bristol massive or the Scottish massive).

Modern English usage. 2014.

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