a reference work containing short biographical entries on the outstanding persons in a country, industry, profession, etc.: a who's who in automotive engineering.
the outstanding or influential persons in a community, industry, profession, or other group: The who's who of racing will be there.
Origin of who's who
First recorded in 1840–50
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for who's who
a book or list containing the names and short biographies of famous people
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
Idioms and Phrases with who's who
The outstanding or best-known individuals of a group, as in Tonight's concert features a veritable who's who of musicians. This expression comes from the name of a famous reference work, Who's Who, first published in 1849, which contains biographical sketches of famous individuals and is regularly updated. Its name in turn was based on who is who, that is, the identity of each of a number of persons, a phrase dating from the late 1300s. [Early 1900s]
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
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