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big shot

noun, Informal.
an important or influential person.
Origin of big shot
1905-10 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for big-shot
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It must be kind of a pain in the ass to be a big-shot investigative reporter.

    Little Brother Cory Doctorow
  • Somebody kicked Fanshaw—the Jolly Lad big-shot—in the belly.

    The Planet Strappers Raymond Zinke Gallun
British Dictionary definitions for big-shot

big shot

(informal) an important or influential 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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Word Origin and History for big-shot

big shot


"important person," 1929, American English, from Prohibition-era gangster slang; earlier in the same sense was great shot (1861). Ultimately a reference to large type of gunshot.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for big-shot

big shot


•Often used sarcastically: a big-shot chest surgeon/ big-shot notions

n phr,n

A very important person; influential person; leader; big cheese, biggie •Thought to have been taken over from the idiom of Prohibition-age gangsters: eight big shots of various farmers', manufacturers', or veterans' organizations/ ''Hey, bigshot,'' his father would bellow on the telephone (1920s+)

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-shot

big shot

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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