I found this on Yahoo Answers and wanted to share it:
Q: Where does the expression 'at large' originate, when referring to escaped criminals?
A: The original meaning of the word "large" included, "abundant, copious, plentiful, liberal" (from the Latin largus), so that "at large" meant "liberated, free". Today, "large" simply means "big" and all the variants of "big", but not "free". But the old idiom "at large" meaning "free" survives on.
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