an influential or important person: Who's the big cheese around here?
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use big cheese in a sentence
A second later he appeared wearing a wig and goatee like Uncle Sam's and carrying a big cheese on a gold plate.Bobbie Bubbles | E. Hugh Sherwood and Maud Gridley Budlong
Going in, I knocked a big cheese off the counter and stooped to pick it up.Jiglets | Walter Jones
They kidnaped the hero-symbol, the big cheese, and later killed him.Border, Breed Nor Birth | Dallas McCord Reynolds
They had loaves of brown bread, a big cheese, and a bunch of onions.Nelly's Silver Mine | Helen Hunt Jackson
The Montague girl, the last to escape, was seen to announce, "The big cheese is loose—it's eating all the little ones!"Merton of the Movies | Harry Leon Wilson
British Dictionary definitions for big cheese
slang 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
Other Idioms and Phrases with big cheese
Also, big shot or gun or wheel or enchilada. An important, powerful person; the boss. For example, She loved being the big cheese of her company; the big guns in Congress are bound to change the President's bill; you'd better not act like a big shot among your old friends; Harry was the big wheel in his class; and You'll have to get permission from the big enchilada. The first term dates from the late 1800s and its origin is disputed. Some think it comes from the Urdu word chiz or cheez for “thing,” but others hold it plays on the English word “chief.” Big gun is much older, dating from the early 1800s; big shot became very popular in the late 1920s, particularly when used for underworld leaders of gangsters; big wheel dates from about the same period. Big enchilada, often put as the big enchilada, is the newest, dating from the early 1970s.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.