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great guns

adverb
1.
Informal. in a relentlessly energetic or successful manner:
The new president has the company going great guns.
interjection
2.
(used as an expression of surprise, astonishment, etc.).
Origin of great guns
1870-1875
First recorded in 1870-75
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for great guns
Historical Examples
  • Jones saw that in a battle with great guns he was sure to be the loser.

  • A general name for all sorts of great guns which are used in war.

    The Sailor's Word-Book William Henry Smyth
  • It blew “great guns outside,” as Baker said, but what of that?

    Fast in the Ice R.M. Ballantyne
  • The trumpets sounded and the great guns saluted as had been arranged.

    Notable Voyagers W.H.G. Kingston and Henry Frith
  • “If they do, it will be with a war-ship, and great guns,” I said.

    Mass' George George Manville Fenn
  • These for the great guns had, he has recorded, been unduly stinted.

    Sir Walter Ralegh William Stebbing
  • Mr. Millet and Mr. Develin always followed in the wake of great guns.

    Ruth Hall Fanny Fern
  • Last of all there come the great guns of 15 and 16 inch calibre.

    Training for the Trenches Leslie Vickers
  • Did they, then, take the great guns from the Tower and place them all along the river?

    South London Sir Walter Besant
  • On this occasion the great guns were fired from the castle and fort.'

Slang definitions & phrases for great guns

great guns

Related Terms

go great guns

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 great guns

great guns

1.
Very energetically or successfully. This colloquial expression usually occurs in the phrasego great guns, as in They're going great guns with those drawings. The expression comes from British naval slang of the late 1700s, when blowing great guns meant a violent gale. Harry Truman used the term in Dear Bess (1945): “We have been going great guns in the last day or two.”
2.
great gun. Alsobig gun. An important person, as in All the great guns came to the reception. This usage is heard less often today. [ ; early 1800s ]
Also see: big cheese
3.
Great guns! An expletive expressing surprise or astonishment, as in Great guns! You're not leaving now? [ Late 1800s ]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Difficulty index for great guns

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for great

6
7
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