great guns

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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. [Slang; 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]
See also: great, gun
References in classic literature ?
Above our heads the explosive booming gusts of wind passed continuously, justifying the sailor's saying "It blows great guns.
I had been in Yarmouth when the seamen said it blew great guns, but I had never known the like of this, or anything approaching to it.
said I, when I had done my stirring, and was taking a final warm in the chimney corner before being sent up to bed; "was that great guns, Joe?
I've let a number of others try it, and all agree it's a great gun to shoot.
For terrorists around the world, the United States is the Great Gun Bazaar.
I found it interesting that in "The Great Gun Fight" between Robert Ehrlich and John Lott Jr.
It is a great gun and more than adequate for most hunters.
Marlin Firearms will hold a Great Gun Give-Away for dealers at this year's SHOT Show in Las Vegas, Jan.
Not only will she get a great gun, she (and you) will help to ensure that more women will one day join her in the shooting sports.
A bit of slithering around on skis with a ruddy great gun on your back and then every so often lying down and discharging a few ounds into a target.
Widnes's Kevin Brown, a man more associated with creating tries than scoring them, is going great guns in joint sixth.
SIMONA HALEP is going great guns but bookmakers may be wrong to expect her to sweep aside Sloane Stephens in today's Miami Open quarter-final clash, writes Adrian Humphries.
They are going great guns so come on Dandies, at least try to enjoy it.
Perhaps those great guns come from pulling all those pints in the Rovers Return?
At times, during last year's frantic buying sprees, consumers lined up as many as 30-deep at the sales counter of Great Guns in Liberty, Mo.