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big wheel

noun, Informal.
1.
an influential or important person:
a big wheel in business.
Origin of big wheel
1905-1910
1905-10
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for big wheel
Historical Examples
  • But far away across the square was the windmill vendor, with his big wheel of whirring splendour.

  • See how many skeins are on the big wheel, or drum as it is called.

    Clothing and Health Helen Kinne
  • It is then he realizes that he is only a spoke in the big wheel; that the spirit of the game puts another man in his place.

    Football Days William H. Edwards
  • It consisted of a big wheel, with spokes made in zig-zag fashion.

    Dick Hamilton's Fortune Howard R. Garis
  • The big wheel then moving was driven by the current, and it in turn operated the sawmill machinery on the inside of the boat.

    Old Times on the Upper Mississippi George Byron Merrick
  • "East by nothe, sir," repeated the quartermaster in mechanical tones, spinning the big wheel to the left.

    Blow The Man Down Holman Day
  • The law required the opposite thing—the big wheel must be turned in the direction in which you are falling.

    What Is Man? And Other Stories Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • But just then Lulu felt something pulling her down toward where the big wheel went around and around, and she got frightened.

  • If there is just the least little fall of snow you can make a big wheel, with spokes in it, by your tracking.

    Back Home Eugene Wood
  • The old leveller, Nature, is at her eternal work of rotation, turning the big wheel round.

    The Open Question Elizabeth Robins
British Dictionary definitions for big wheel

big wheel

noun
1.
another name for a Ferris wheel
2.
(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
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Contemporary definitions for big wheel
noun
Dictionary.com's 21st Century Lexicon
Copyright © 2003-2014 Dictionary.com, LLC
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Slang definitions & phrases for big wheel

big wheel

modifier

: a big-wheel attitude/ Look at the big-wheel label on those jeans

noun phrase

An important person; big shot: Up to that juncture I was boss man of the family and big wheel

[1940s+; probably connected with Chicago underworld use wheels, ''gang chief, big shot,'' attested in 1932]

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 big wheel

big wheel

see under big cheese
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 big wheel

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for big

6
8
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