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who's who

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noun
  1. a reference work containing short biographical entries on the outstanding persons in a country, industry, profession, etc.: a who's who in automotive engineering.
  2. the outstanding or influential persons in a community, industry, profession, or other group: The who's who of racing will be there.
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Origin of who's who

First recorded in 1840–50
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

directory

British Dictionary definitions for who's who

who's who

noun
  1. a book or list containing the names and short biographies of famous people
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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

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]

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.