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great guns

adverb
1.
Informal. in a relentlessly energetic or successful manner:
The new president has the company going great guns.
interjection
2.
(used as an expression of surprise, astonishment, etc.).
Origin of great guns
1870-1875
1870-75
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for great guns
Historical Examples
  • Then came masses of Uhlans and hussars and after them batteries of great guns and scores and scores of the wicked machine guns.

    The Hosts of the Air Joseph A. Altsheler
  • Jones saw that in a battle with great guns he was sure to be the loser.

  • Fenwick "played upon him" a little "with the great guns," which did gar him gang down more fool than he went up.

  • It blew “great guns outside,” as Baker said, but what of that?

    Fast in the Ice R.M. Ballantyne
  • On the great guns being fired, the Kaffirs on the heights about two miles off, fled as fast as possible.

  • “If they do, it will be with a war-ship, and great guns,” I said.

    Mass' George George Manville Fenn
  • The sailors were hauling their two great guns to the crest of the hill ready to come into action to support the infantry attack.

    London to Ladysmith via Pretoria Winston Spencer Churchill
  • Mr. Millet and Mr. Develin always followed in the wake of great guns.

    Ruth Hall Fanny Fern
  • As the turret revolved the great guns kept up a steady discharge, battering the sides of the Merrimac.

    The Land We Live In Henry Mann
  • Last of all there come the great guns of 15 and 16 inch calibre.

    Training for the Trenches Leslie Vickers
Slang definitions & phrases for great guns

great guns

Related Terms

go great guns

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 great guns

great guns

1.
Very energetically or successfully. This colloquial expression usually occurs in the phrase go great guns, as in They're going great guns with those drawings. The expression comes from British naval slang of the late 1700s, when blowing great guns meant a violent gale. Harry Truman used the term in Dear Bess (1945): “We have been going great guns in the last day or two.”
2.
great gun. Also big gun. An important person, as in All the great guns came to the reception. This usage is heard less often today. [ ; early 1800s ]
Also see: big cheese
3.
Great guns! An expletive expressing surprise or astonishment, as in Great guns! You're not leaving now? [ Late 1800s ]
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 great guns

Few English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for great

6
7
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