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bigger they come, the harder they fall, the

Persons in important positions lose more when they fail, as in Impeaching a President is very painful—the bigger they come, the harder they fall. This expression is believed to come from boxing and gained currency when boxer Robert Fitzsimmons used it in a 1902 newspaper interview before fighting the much heavier James J. Jeffries. It was probably derived from similar adages, such as “The bigger the tree, the harder she falls.”
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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