Big shot

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Big shot is an idiom that has been in use for nearly a hundred years. We will examine the definition of the term big shot, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

A big shot is an important person, someone who is of major consequence in a certain sphere of influence. The term big shot is one of many such idioms that mean the most important person or the leader, including the idioms big fish, big wheel, and big kahuna.

In the mid-1800s, big shot came into use to mean artillery that shoots large projectiles, such as cannons. Big shot is an American idiomatic expression, first seen in its figurative sense in the 1920s as gang slang to mean the boss or the leader. T

oday, big shot is often used in a sarcastic, taunting fashion to ridicule someone who thinks he is more important than he actually is.

The plural form of big shot is big shots.

Examples in a Sentence

That is, unless you’re a big-shot dude in the tech world, in which case you get to call it “biohacking.” (The National Post)

“There was a big shot coming to visit us so we decided to stay in our overalls which was jet black.” (Gulf News India)

Scott (Michael Ealy), a big-shot marketing strategist, isn’t so sure, but an isolated house at the end of a spooky, tree-lined driveway seems like the perfect place to start a family. (The New York Times)

Even when he’s a buffoon of a wannabe gangster boss, a small fry who thinks he’s a big shot, a school bully – literally, because he’s still a student – and a woeful would-be womaniser. (The South China Morning Post)