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 formsbig·wigged, adjectivebig·wig·ged·ness [big-wig-id-nis] /ˈbɪgˈwɪg ɪd nɪs/, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for bigwig

Contemporary Examples of bigwig

Historical Examples of bigwig

  • 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

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

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