Which adjective do I use with diameter to compare its size? Is there even one correct answer or is it a style choice?

The general diameter of veins is [larger|bigger|higher|greater] than that of arteries.

And how do I find such information by myself the next time?

  • I checked Wikipedia which has the following sentence

    For a convex shape in the plane, the diameter is defined to be the largest distance that can be formed between two opposite parallel lines tangent to its boundary …

    I could deduce from this, that larger would be the correct one but am not sure if this is logical and why it would be larger.

  • I then checked Wiktionary and unfortunately the article does not list such an example

  • Going by Google result hits

    • "larger diameter" 7'420'000 results
    • `"greater diameter" 1'020'000 results
    • "higher diameter" 852'000 results
    • "bigger diameter" 738'000 results

So after this I would go with larger but am not sure why and if this is the correct or best choice.

Edit: Added also greater as possiblity as per comment. Did not think of that.

  • Larger is the best choice here, at least for American English. Feb 1, 2021 at 22:03
  • Depends a lot on the context. Veins or traffic circles?
    – Hot Licks
    Feb 1, 2021 at 23:38
  • @HotLicks ah ok, didn't guess that it matters. Then only for veins as in my example. Might change the question then.
    – bugybunny
    Feb 2, 2021 at 14:45

2 Answers 2


Greater is a useful word. I prefer it in the contexts you mention. Other minor tweaks might help too.

The general diameter of veins is greater than that of arteries.

...the diameter is defined as the greatest distance between two opposite parallel lines...

I would avoid 'bigger', which can sound rather childish, and 'higher', which is best used with numbers or with things that possess actual or figurative height: temperatures, tides etc. Diameters have no height.


The best choice, I would suggest is wider.

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