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[big-wig] /ˈbɪgˌwɪg/
noun, Informal.
an important person, especially an official:
senators and other political bigwigs.
Origin of bigwig
First recorded in 1725-35; rhyming compound from phrase big wig, i.e., person important enough to wear such a wig
Related forms
bigwigged, adjective
[big-wig-id-nis] /ˈbɪgˈwɪg ɪd nɪs/ (Show IPA),
noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for bigwig
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And now and again some bigwig versed in science murmured the word 'Fats.'

    The Freelands John Galsworthy
  • This he said to his private secretary, who came to notice the arrival of some bigwig.

    Framley Parsonage

    Anthony Trollope
  • Once a year some 'bigwig' comes from Bangalore to review them.

  • On the present occasion he welcomed Arkady with all the bonhomie, all the jocosity, of an "enlightened" bigwig.

    Fathers and Sons Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev
  • And abruptly changing the subject, he talked of pictures to the pleasant bigwig in the sleepy afternoon.

    The Freelands John Galsworthy
  • A bigwig, with an inordinate ambition to become a minister, (p. 276) invited him to dinner.

    An Englishman in Paris

    Albert D. (Albert Dresden) Vandam
  • Matvei Ilyitch was just such a bigwig, although he called himself a Liberal.

    Fathers and Sons Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev
  • He heard me out, looked at my deceased poppies, and arranged a conference with a bigwig from the State Department.

    Revenge Arthur Porges
British Dictionary definitions for bigwig


(informal) an important 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 bigwig

1731, from big + wig, in reference to the imposing wigs formerly worn by men of rank or authority.

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



A very important person, often self-important: bigwigs all over the restaurant (1731+)

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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