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Strong Bad: Good grief, Bubs, you've really let yourself go.

Bubs: Hey, man, I've got a glandular problem!

Strong Bad: More like a gravy boat problem.

Cartman: I am not fat, I'm big-boned.

Kyle: Jay Leno's chin is big-boned. You're a big fatass.

Overweight people can be very self conscious. It's understandable. We tend to associate many negative traits and behaviors with obesity. Thus, fat (or should I say large? chubby? fluffy?) people tend to come up with any excuse they can to avoid the stigma of being labeled as such. It isn't that they are fat, they are just big-boned. Or maybe it's just baby fat. Maybe they have a gland disorder or a slow metabolism. It has nothing to do with lack of exercise, or the triple cheeseburger, chili fries and chocolate-covered strawberries they just ate.

Whatever the cause, a lot of people don't like the term "fat". And some really don't like it. So if you're going to label somebody as overweight you might want to choose your words a little carefully, because you could end up hurting somebody's feelings, or getting yourself hurt.

This would be Truth in Television, definitely. Incidentally, in Real Life, many of these "excuses" are accurate in at least some cases, such as hypothyroidism. The majority of real fat people do not live up to the Big Eater cartoon.

A form of Insistent Terminology. See also Does This Make Me Look Fat?, Hollywood Pudgy, and Fat and Proud. Not to be confused with another kind of bone.

Examples of I Am Big Boned include:

Anime & Manga

  • Choji Akimichi from Naruto. Oddly enough, it appears to actually be true, since by the time of the Time Skip he's certainly not svelte, but looks more like a linebacker, suggesting that he grew into his body.
  • In Digimon Adventure, Whalemon said this. In the dub.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia -- Russia. He might actually be right, since he's huge, being the largest country on earth, and never takes off his great coat so we don't know if he's fat.
    • Until the 2011 April's Fools. It turns out he's more muscular than fat, cementing his fame as a Big Beautiful Man.
    • Himaruya depicted him in a shirt that said "I'm big boned"
  • A darkly comedic version of this trope occurs in Fist of the Blue Sky; Zhang Lie-Shan, boss of the Hong Hua-Hui Triads a man gifted with "exceptional stature"... as in "literally the height of a three stories tall building exceptional stature. However, he is incredibly sensitive about being out of the ordinary, and gets very unhappy about being called "too big"... as in "smother his tree sized cigar into your face and drown you with his car-sized shot glass of whisky" unhappy.


  • In the Scare Tactics comic, Grossout's mother kept insisting that he was just "big for his age".
  • Obelix from the Asterix comics. ("I'm not fat. I'm just... well wrapped.") Calling him fat is almost a Berserk Button with him.

Fan Fiction

  • A joke in the screenshots and fanfics on Raquaza Master's Pokétown Pokémon board featured a character calling Ash fat, and he would reply that he was big-boned. It's even funnier when you notice that he isn't fat at all.

Films -- Live-Action

 Horace: Look, I have a glandular problem, OK? At least I don't have a stupidity problem!

 Dinka: I'm big-boned, Rick!

 Jennings: My size is due to a glandular condition, Mr. Keogh.


  • In Harry Potter, the Dursleys make excuse after excuse for their son Dudley, saying that he still has baby fat/is big-boned/is a growing boy right up until his school sends a letter saying they no longer have uniforms that fit him.
    • In the same book, Hagrid, who is described as being twice as tall as a normal man and five times as broad, admits to being a half-giant and asks the similarly-built Madame Maxime about her own ancestry. Madame Maxime is very offended, and claims to just have big bones.
  • In Supergran by Forrest Wilson, one of Supergran's sidekicks is on the large side, but tells anybody who brings it up that "It's not fat, it's muscle". The disclaimer is so firmly ingrained that when, at the end of the book, somebody remarks on his muscular physique, his mouth says "It's not muscle, it's fat" before his brain catches up.
  • In Robert Kimmel Smith's Jelly Belly, Nathaniel's grandmother insists that her darling grandson isn't overweight; he's just big-boned like her. Even after Nathaniel himself tries to get her to acknowledge that he really does need to lose weight and that she could help by not cooking so much food for him.
  • Lula. Do not tell her otherwise, or there will be painful (if humorous) consequences.
  • Jupiter Jones of The Three Investigators is a stocky, round-faced kid who runs to pudge. It's something of a sore spot.

Live-Action TV

  • ~Gilligan's Island~:

 Skipper: I'm not fat! I just have big bones!

Gilligan: Yeah, and they're covered with big meat!

 Eric: You know, at first I blamed it on myself. I thought maybe glands, and then I thought maybe metabolism, but then I thought to myself I'm no racist, so it all goes back to you guys.

Alan Matthews: Listen, Porky, we're in the middle of a serious family discussion here.

 Larry: You go around calling Jeff [her husband] a fat fuck.

Susie: Jeff is a fat fuck, Oscar's just big-boned.

 Molly's Mom: You're not fat, dear, you're just big boned.

Molly: Bones don't jiggle, ma.

  • Married... with Children: Al Bundy's mother-in-law isn't fat. She's "retaining water". Al replied the Hoover Dam was retaining water.

Newspaper Comics

  • Garfield does it sometimes, a few with the trope name (the page image is the response of his sarcastic bathroom scale).

Stand-Up Comedy

  • Comedian Mikey Robins once explained that his size was indeed a result of a gland problem: He'd eaten too many glands.
  • Comedian Gabriel Iglesias often quips that according to his mother he's not fat, he's "fluffy". He goes on to describe the five levels of fatness: Big, Healthy, Husky, Fluffy, and DAAAAMN!
    • He recently discovered a sixth level: AWW, HELL NO! (think about how Will Smith says it, and you've got the picture)
  • Ricky Gervais. "Yeah, big bones, covered in meat and gravy!!"
  • Billy Connolly discussed opera in one of his shows, and made reference to how rotund many singers there tended to be:

 She said "I'm retaining water!"

No, you're retaining pizza!

  You're big assed! Dinosaurs are big boned! Put the fork down!


  • In Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends, Meng Huo meeting Xu Zhu on the battlefield of the Legend Mode stage, Struggle for Nan Zhong:

 Xu Zhu: Hey! You're big and fat, just like me!

Meng Huo: What?! I'm not fat! This is all muscle!

 Fat Pirate: (looking down at his large ribcage) Hey, whaddya know! I really am big-boned!

  • In ~Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep~, Captain Gantu shouts this in response to some of Experiment 626/Stitch's incoherent gibberish taunting.

Western Animation

 Stan: C'mon, fatass!

Ms. Cartman: Now, now, he's not fat, he's big boned!

Kyle: Then he must have a giant bone in his ass!

Ms. Cartman: {{[[[Accidental Innuendo]] hysterical laughter}}]

 Snake: Give me my car, fatty!

Homer: What? This is my car! And I'm not fat, it's glandular!

    • A sumo wrestler used the same excuse when called fat by Homer. He immediately thereafter steals Homer's pretzel.
    • Homer also averted this when he told Marge (paraphrase from memory), "Nobody puts on 20 pounds of bone!"
    • Comic Book Guy once had a shirt reading "I'm not fat. I'm enormous."
  • Manfred in Ice Age: "I'm not fat. It's all this hair. It makes me look poofy."
  • Doug had a crisis when he had gained weight and worked out hard to get back to his normal weight, but realized he was always a little chubby. As he talked with some chunky friends, they each gave some alternate terminology like "big boned" and "stout". When Doug asked what he was, they said, "Husky?"
  • In Gummi Bears, Tummi uses this excuse that he has "big bones," to which Gruffi snaps, "Yeah, and they're getting bigger."
  • In The Penguins of Madagascar with Maurice...

 Julien: Ah! Thank goodiness you are here to help my chunky monkey to carry me.

Maurice: I'm big boned...

    • Which is funny, considering Maurice and Gantu have the same voice actor, and this occurs in Aqua's Deep Space:

 Stitch: *Gibberish*

Gantu': I'm just big boned!

 Scotsmans wife: Fat? FAT? I'M NOT FAT, I'M STOUT!!

 Donna: I suppose you brought your hobbit friend too.

Colt: That's offensive. I'm small boned. Except for one. This chick gets it.

  • There was an episode of Johnny Test where Johnny made fun of a video game vendor for being fat. He claimed it was a "glandular problem". The episode was based off of the concept of karma, so when Johnny ate an experimental candy bar, it messed with his hormones and made him fat as well. In other words, he now had a glandular problem.
  • In Futurama, Hermes sees himself through an X-ray and realizes, to his horror, that he has small bones, which means he really is fat.
    • When Amy's parents call Kif scrawny, Amy says he's just "small-boned". Kif notes that he actually has no bones.
      • In fact, he's completely spineless.
  • Fred Flintstone isn't fat. It's all muscle. He then dared Betty to sock his belly to show it. She answered the dare. Fred felt pain but wouldn't scream until he was sure he was out of her hearing range.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: Sweetie was once adopted by an eagle she called fat. His reply was the same as Fred's. To his dismay, she enlarged her hand.

Real Life

  • Mexican actor Edgar Vivar claims he is not obese and says he does has fat but "resting muscles", or at least so he did in an interview
  • Some fat people, having seen so many media representations of all fatties as lying on couches all day eating buckets of doughnuts, assume that since they have never eaten a triple-cheeseburger in their lives, they MUST just be big boned...
  • Some people really do have larger-than-average skeletal frames, though not all of them are heavy.
  • As mentioned in the main article, some people tend to put on weight because of metabolical disorders even when they aren't overeaters. Hypothyroidism, hyperinsulinemia and estrogen dominance are just some of the possible conditions where a person can keep gaining weight even if they survive on minimal calories, because these hormonal disturbances make the body store energy as fat to the point where the person can be malnourished, but the energy they consume still gets stored instead of being used as fuel.
  • Yes, being "big boned" does exist (though it doesn't involve actually having bigger bones). Some people are naturally born with bigger bodies, which tend to hold fat longer.
  • Because of its culture, many Pacific Island natives have bigger bodies. This is because, in their culture, being larger is still seen as a sign of wealth. Because of the drive to be a bigger race, many Islanders have the same body type as described above.
    • Polynesians have on average the most muscled bodies of all races on Earth (with unfortunate effect their endomorphic physiques gain fat even quicker than other people). In Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films, most Orcs (who were supposed to be muscled and have high physical strength) have been played by Maori actors for this reason.
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