2122: Size Venn Diagram

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Size Venn Diagram
Terms I'm going to start using: The Large Dipper, great potatoes, the Big Hadron Collider, and Large Orphan Annie.
Title text: Terms I'm going to start using: The Large Dipper, great potatoes, the Big Hadron Collider, and Large Orphan Annie.


Branko Grünbaum's multi-set Venn diagram strategy from 1975, less symmetric than Randall's.

This comic is a Venn diagram illustrating the complete set of possible intersections of five different size adjectives: "little", "large", "small", "great" and “big”. Each unique intersection contains a short list of nouns that can be preceded by each of its intersecting adjectives.

For example, "flying fox" (a type of bat) appears at the intersection of "large", "small", and "great", because the species large flying fox, small flying fox, and great flying fox all exist, but there is no such species as a "big flying fox" or a "little flying fox". Similarly, humans have organs named the small intestine and large intestine, but no "little intestine", "great intestine", or "big intestine".

Some descriptors are applied in combination to their noun, rather than individually; for example, "planet" is placed in both the "little" and "big" groups in reference to the 2008 video game Little Big Planet.

In the title text, Randall declares that he will start intentionally using term combinations that don't appear in the above diagram, presumably to ensure every intersection contains at least one term. A slightly more reasonable solution is to publish books/songs/films/etc under these titles (details needed), as many of the entries in this comic are titles.

A similar concept can be seen in 181: Interblag, but in a tabular form rather than a Venn diagram.

List of items in the diagram[edit]

The following table lists all size/noun combinations that the Venn diagram can generate, with a description of each.

Item Big Great Large Little Small # Regions
Aunt sister of one's grandparent 1
Bang Theory currently-accepted scientific theory that explains the origin of the universe; also a TV sitcom 1
Barrier Reef world's largest coral reef system, off the coast of Australia 1
Bear Lake a lake and surrounding community in California, in the mountains a lake in Canada, in the Northwest Territories -- the largest lake entirely in Canada, and the fourth-largest in North America 2
Bend several geographic locations, including a US National Park in Texas several geographic locations, including a city in Kansas and the description of the S-shaped curving of the Nile River in Egypt and Sudan 2
Billed Seed Finch species of finch, described in 1851 species of finch, described in 1789 2
Blue nickname for IBM and the New York Giants, also a movie and a stage in F-Zero and borrowed into Mario Kart various different butterflies butterfly, smallest found in the UK 3
Blue Heron species of heron that measures 91–137 cm (36–54 in) long species of heron that measures about 60 cm (24 in) long 2
Board nickname for the New York Stock Exchange 1
Cardiac Vein left coronary vein heart vein on the right side 2
Circle largest possible circle that can be drawn on a sphere; the equator is an example of one on the Earth The Little Circle, a group of political reformists based in Manchester, UK in the early 1800s a circle that lies on a sphere without passing through its center (which would make it a great circle) 3
Claims Court judicial court that handles cases involving only relatively small amounts of money 1
Depression period of prolonged economic downturn that affected the world economy in the 1930's 1
Dipper subset collection of stars in the constellation Ursa Major name for the constellation Ursa Minor 2
Emerald Geometra papilionaria, a bright green moth of the family Geometridae Jodis lactearia, a light green or white moth of the family Geometridae Hemistola chrysoprasaria, a light green or yellow-white moth of the family Geometridae 3
Enchilada The term "Big Enchilada" means a person or thing of great importance. 1
End The bearing connecting a connecting rod to the crank shaft of a reciprocating engine. Mountain in England The bearing connecting a connecting rod to the gudgeon pin and hence the piston in a reciprocating engine. 3
Eyed Conger type of eel, found in the western Pacific Ocean type of eel, found in the northwestern and eastern central Pacific Ocean type of eel, found in the eastern Indian Ocean 3
Flying Fox Great flying fox Large flying fox Small flying fox 3
Foot The well known folk-lore monster Bigfoot Main character in the Land Before Time film series Smallfoot is an animated film that inverts the Bigfoot legend, focusing on a group of yetis that tell stories about humans. 3
Forest Bat A common bat found in Southeastern Australia A related bat also found in Southeastern Australia 2
Format anything larger than 4x5 inches in photography 1
Foundation The BIG Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit charity May be a reference to Asimov’s Greater Foundation May be a typo. Could possibly be a reference to the Lange Foundation 3
Frog Refers to someone who is important but only in a small group (Big frog in a small pond) A South-East Asian frog species children's book "The Little Frog" by Crista R. Stewart An Australian frog species 4
Game Large animals hunted for sport or food, usually referring to the African big five game (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, cape buffalo); can also refer to the NFL's Super Bowl 19th Century geopolitical competition between the British and Russian Empires over control of Afghanistan Large animals hunted for sport or food, such as bears or moose Small animals hunted for sport or food, such as rabbits or ducks 4
Hadron Collider particle accelerator 1
Hearted kind, generous, selfless, noble generous, selfless, noble generous, benevolent, noble 3
House on the Prairie novel (later made into a TV show) 1
Intestine The Large Intestine or colon is the last part of the digestive system. The Small Intestine is the part of the gastrointestinal tract (gut) immediately after the stomach, where most absorption of nutrients takes place 2
Island largest island in Hawaii, or numerous other islands: Big Island in Cork Harbour, Ireland island in the Antilles, owned by Grenada several islands named such, plus a song in Randy Newman's Faust novel which was made into a movie 5
League Nickname for top-level competition One of the leagues in Pokemon Go Youth baseball organization 3
Lies Big Little Lies, a novel made into a TV series; also a form of propaganda Big Little Lies, a novel made into a TV series; also a Fleetwood Mac song 2
Magellanic Cloud A satellite galaxy of the Milky Way Another satellite galaxy of the Milky Way 2
Millimeter Telescope radio telescope 1
One Nickname for any large natural disaster that is expected to happen in the future, such as a tsunami or an earthquake in California Nickname for Wayne Gretzky, considered by many to be the greatest ice hockey player of all time, also comedian Jackie Gleason and many other people (Wikipedia disambiguation page). affectionate term for a small person A Disney animated short directed by Don Bluth 4
Orphan Annie comic strip 1
Planet Part of the video game Little Big Planet Part of the video game Little Big Planet 2
Potatoes something relatively unimportant 1
Pox an old name for syphilis a deadly disease which was effectively eradicated by 1977 2
Professor rap artist educational math toy (also "Little Professor Syndrome", an informal name for autism) 2
Richard musician 1
Room a McMansion's signature space Track 6 on "White Blood Cells," the third album by The White Stripes "The Small Room", a novel by May Sarton, also various songs: Small Room 3
Screen another name for movies another name for TV 2
Sister older female sibling; also a character from the influential video game Bioshock younger female sibling; also another character from the influential video game Bioshock 2
Soldiers 1996 Telugu drama film 1998 movie about sentient animated toys at war 2
Sur coastal region of California famed for its mountain scenery. It also contained a Little Sur River (not on the comic) 1
Terror One of two periods of violent political repression; one during the French Revolution between 1793 and 1794, the other in the Soviet Union under Josef Stalin between 1936 and 1938 1
Time major, the highest level of a field minor, or modest, level of achievement 2
Toothed Aspen A tree native to North America Another name for the same tree 2
Wall of China Series of fortifications over 13,000 miles long that served to protect various Chinese empires from raids and invasion from their north 1
White ski resort in British Columbia species of shark or a rock band a butterfly or a common breed of pig multiple species of butterflies are known as small whites 4
Wonder "Little Wonder" is a song and single by David Bowie, from the 1997 album Earthling. American sitcom 2
World Australian company BigWorld which develops development tools for MMOs; also a 1986 live album by Joe Jackson. Reference to either Great World City or Great World Amusement Park, a Chinese shopping mall or amusement park, respectively A 2013 Catalan documentary film Board game by Days of Wonder, ride at Disney parks, type of mathematical graph. 4
no items present n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 0
no items present n/a ??? ??? ??? n/a 3
no items present ??? ??? ??? ??? n/a 4
no items present n/a ??? ??? ??? ??? 4
Item Big Great Large Little Small # Regions


[A Venn diagram with five sets titled 'Big', 'Little', 'Large', 'Small' and 'Great'. Various words which can be prefixed by these titles are shown in the relevant segment.]

Big: Bang Theory, Enchilada, Board, Sur
Little: Orphan Annie, House on the Prairie, Richard
Large: format, Millimeter Telescope, Hadron Collider
Small: claims court, potatoes
Great: Barrier Reef, Wall of China, Depression, Terror, aunt
Big/Great: Bend, Bear Lake
Big/Small: time, screen
Big/Little: Dipper, Planet, lies, sister
Little/Great: Blue Heron
Little/Large: Professor, Forest Bat
Big/Large: Toothed Aspen
Large/Small: intestine, Magellanic Cloud
Little/Small: wonder, soldiers
Small/Great: pox, cardiac vein
Large/Great: Billed Seed Finch

Big/Large/Great: hearted
Big/Small/Great: end
Big/Little/Small: foot
Big/Little/Great: league
Little/Large/Great: (none)
Big/Little/Large: foundation
Big/Large/Small: Eyed Conger, Blue
Little/Large/Small: emerald
Little/Small/Great: circle, room
Large/Small/Great: flying fox
Big/Large/Small/Great: game, white
Big/Little/Small/Great : world, one
Big/Little/Large/Great : (none)
Big/Little/Large/Small : frog
Little/Large/Small/Great : (none)
Big/Little/Large/Small/Great: Island

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The word league is in a diamond-shaped region, which probably connotes to the baseball diamond.

I think Randall kind of missed an opportunity with the title text: he should have used the new terms as a way to fill the blank areas in the diagram, for instance 'Great Emerald' for the currently empty set Great+Small+Little+Large. 14:31, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

No, I think the diagram itself is meant to be completely correct. But I didn't check all 100+ combinations. Fabian42 (talk) 14:57, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
Yes, I believe the diagram is correct now, but as per the title text Randall will start using new combinations of terms, probably to get their usage mainstream and move the location of the words in the diagram. I'm saying he should have created terms that would fill some blank areas. For instance, his Large Dipper would make Dipper appear in the Big+Little+Large area where we already have League. 15:16, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
I understood what you said (the first time around) and agree. Randall's title text is to acknowledge or engage the patterns he's discovered in the comic (as usual), and he could do that more thoroughly by making up words that would make the chart more balanced. 16:27, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
I think his choices are an attempt to complete the table: Large Orphan Annie fills in the triangle-ish at one o'clock, Large Dipper fills in the rectangle-ish area at one o'clock, though he seems to have failed to fill in the rectangle-ish area at six-o'clock 19:45, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
He could also have placed “man” between “little” and “big” just to reference the movie ☺

Any such diagram will inevitably have small lacunae. But "Friendly Giant" is a particularly large one. 15:21, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

Endian? Scott? Tits? 15:23, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

Yeah, what about Little Endian? It's missing! 19:28, 11 March 2019 (UT
"Endian" would go in the "Big/Little" area, which already has "Dipper", "Lies", "Planet" and "Sister"; no room...

Besides the transcript of what's in each category, what about a table to explain why the items categorized as they are, like:

Item Big Great Large Little Small
Island Hawaii Cork Harbor, Ireland Antilles movie novel, movie
Pox n/a syphilis n/a n/a disease
White BC ski resort shark pig n/a butterfly


Yeah, it seems reasonable, I like it. Add it Netherin5 (talk) 15:57, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
Second but leave the unused cells blank dont put N/A in the cell. M (talk) 16:15, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

I don't know why, but the shape of this diagram feels really satisfying to me. Hawthorn (talk) 16:29, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

For me it’s just hard to look at. Netherin5 (talk) 16:41, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
Came here to say exactly that. The symmetry is really pleasing. I've been considering how effective adding colours would be as well. Cosmogoblin (talk) 17:55, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
I beg to differ. xkcd finally went pear-shaped. (runs for his life) 11:44, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
It looks like these style Venn diagrams are generated by http://bioinformatics.psb.ugent.be/webtools/Venn/ ... haven't tried it myself. Don't know if they invented it or took it from elsewhere. 21:17, 11 March 2019 (UTC)
This particular geometric configuration for five category Venn diagrams was popularized by Adrian Dusa's venn package for R. 17:55, 12 March 2019 (UTC)
I would expect color to help a lot. I'm somewhere in between Netherin and Hawthorn's opinion. There is definite elegance to the shapes and their interaction, but trying to figure out which three pears overlap a word box can go crosseyed really fast. 17:20, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
Could it be because they look like eggplants? Kind of like the eggplant emojis? -boB (talk) 15:45, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

Again I wonder if he does these sorts of comics just to see how far we'll take it Cgrimes85 (talk) 16:51, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

Uhhh...isn’t the bottom part just the transcript?Netherin5 (talk) 17:08, 11 March 2019 (UTC)

Shouldn't this go in the Venn Diagram category? 00:10, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

Done. -- 17:58, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

Can anyone make the table's cells be more regular in size across columns? 00:54, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

Done 15:28, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

I am disappointed that he only referenced the "little big planet" game but not the "little big adventure" one. 08:04, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

Perhaps because Little Big Adventure has been released as "Relentless: Twinsen's Adventures" in North America (and some other regions)? Even if Randall knows the game, he might know it by the alternate title. - kosgd 11:03, 20 September 2022 (UTC)

Large Frog is an artwork, apparently. -- 22:56, 12 March 2019 (UTC)

Why Are we so sure that planet being in both the little and big categories is a reference to the game? V (talk) 01:23, 13 March 2019 (UTC)

It's a good point; I can find plausible Wikipedia entries for Little planet and Big Planet but not for any of the others. Hawthorn (talk) 14:22, 13 March 2019 (UTC)
It’s more likely a very popular video game that seems a lot like Randall’s taste than a photography thing. It should at least be included. If anyone wants to put in the link for both I’m okay with that. Netherin5 (talk) 14:27, 13 March 2019 (UTC)

Big Blue is also a thing in F-Zero. 15:15, 13 March 2019 (UTC)

You could fill the empty great/large/small field with: man. And the empty great/large/little with lady 12:06, 18 March 2019 (UTC)

I had a great time looking over the diagram, but through this I discovered that it's not correct ;) --Lordyoyo (talk) 14:25, 19 March 2019 (UTC)


Is there a reason why "enchilada" appears in two rows in the table? One is capitalized, the other is not; both have similar "big" descriptions. These Are Not The Comments You Are Looking For (talk) 05:26, 23 March 2019 (UTC)

Sorry, I added the second one in the correct alphabetical location, but didn't see the first one. I've removed the first one and transferred the Wiktionary link to the second version. KieferSkunk (talk) 01:33, 24 March 2019 (UTC)

I think that Randall placed "Wonder" in the wrong location. The term "Great Wonder" is used by the Civilization franchise. there ia s 1996 book titled "The Great Wonder" and two songs with the same title, one by Dagoba and one by Ryan Taubert. I've never played Civilization, nor read the book and don't think that I've hear either of the two songs. 22:28, 30 October 2019 (UTC)