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big shot

noun, Informal.
an important or influential person.
Origin of big shot
First recorded in 1905-10 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for big shot
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Here comes a big shot, one of the monkeys with gold buttons.

    The Shadow Passes Roy J. Snell
  • As he passed the “big shot” smiled suavely at them, but said never a word.

    The Shadow Passes Roy J. Snell
  • Once more it was the “big shot,” as Indian John had called him, who spoke.

    Third Warning Roy J. Snell
  • I was indeed glad that I had one barrel loaded with big shot.

    Lost in the Jungle Paul Du Chaillu
  • He went into the bedroom and he saw Carven, the big shot detective.

  • They simply shrugged and waited for the Jap Navy big shot to take the lead again.

    Dave Dawson on Guadalcanal Robert Sydney Bowen
  • All I can possibly wish to do is to disable, and big shot is more likely to do that without killing, than bullets.

    The Big Otter R.M. Ballantyne
British Dictionary definitions for big shot

big shot

(informal) an important or influential person
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for big shot

"important person," 1929, American English, from Prohibition-era gangster slang; earlier in the same sense was great shot (1861). Ultimately a reference to large type of gunshot.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for big shot

big shot


•Often used sarcastically: a big-shot chest surgeon/ big-shot notions

n phr,n

A very important person; influential person; leader; big cheese, biggie •Thought to have been taken over from the idiom of Prohibition-age gangsters: eight big shots of various farmers', manufacturers', or veterans' organizations/ ''Hey, bigshot,'' his father would bellow on the telephone (1920s+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with big shot

big shot

see under big cheese
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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