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90s Slang You Should Know

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. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for big shot
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He's a big shot, you know, and his group is kicking up quite a row, so it might be better to have it come straight from the top.

    Triplanetary Edward Elmer Smith
  • Here comes a big shot, one of the monkeys with gold buttons.

    The Shadow Passes Roy J. Snell
  • Then came a big shot that knocked over the pivot-gun, and killed half its crew.

  • Once more it was the “big shot,” as Indian John had called him, who spoke.

    Third Warning Roy J. Snell
  • I ostentatiously threw the water out of the glass, poured a big shot of the corrosive stuff, and downed it.

    Lone Star Planet Henry Beam Piper and John Joseph McGuire
  • I was indeed glad that I had one barrel loaded with big shot.

    Lost in the Jungle Paul Du Chaillu
  • This big shot would tear a rabbit all to pieces and I believe we are more apt to see rabbits than deer.

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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