big gun

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big gun

1. (usually used in the plural) The biggest or most powerful tool or asset for a given task. This axe is getting nowhere on this stump—it's time to bring out the big guns and use the dynamite. My phone calls have not been answered, so it's time to bring out the big guns and send them a subpoena.
2. An important, successful, or influential person. He's a big gun at the law firm; he wins every court case he gets. After failing to convince the IT department that implementing new network security controls would be in everyone's best interest, Mike felt it was time to bring in the big guns, so he called a company meeting with the executive board.
See also: big, gun

a big gun

COMMON If you call someone a big gun, you mean they are a very important and powerful person in an organization or area of activity. He's a pretty big gun in Maine politics. Note: Often, people use the plural the big guns, meaning a group of important and powerful people. She has been much sought after by the film industry's big guns. The Premiership big guns are all keen to get their hands on this young player. Note: Cannons used to be referred to as `big guns' or `great guns', while rifles or muskets were called `small guns'.
See also: big, gun

big gun

n. an important and powerful person, such as an officer of a company. (Often with bring in as in the example.) I knew they would bring in the big guns at the last minute.
See also: big, gun
References in classic literature ?
We go across the level plain, twenty yoke of us, till we are unyoked again, and we graze while the big guns talk across the plain to some town with mud walls, and pieces of the wall fall out, and the dust goes up as though many cattle were coming home.
Sometimes there are big guns in the city that speak back, and some of us are killed, and then there is all the more grazing for those that are left.
Do you gentlemen of the screw-gun battery feel inclined to eat when you are being fired at with big guns, and Two Tails is behind you?
If I could do that and nothing else, you wouldn't be needed to pull the big guns at all.
Then the big guns came by, and I saw Two Tails and two other elephants harnessed in line to a forty-pounder siege gun, while twenty yoke of oxen walked behind.
The gun bullocks rolled their cuds, and answered both together: "The seventh yoke of the first gun of the Big Gun Battery.
To put all twenty yoke of us to the big gun as soon as Two Tails trumpets.
And in the great silence the deep, faint booming of the big guns being tested at Shoeburyness hangs about the Nore - a historical spot in the keeping of one of England's appointed guardians.
For example, a proportion of them, always the best marksmen, direct their fire entirely upon the wireless finding and sighting apparatus of the big guns of an attacking naval force; another detail attends to the smaller guns in the same way; others pick off the gunners; still others the officers; while certain other quotas concentrate their attention upon the other members of the crew, upon the upper works, and upon the steering gear and propellers.
The Jap professor'd told me the manager an' the other big guns of the company was comin' up on the mornin' train.
To me, away there in my bean-field at the other end of the town, the big guns sounded as if a puffball had burst; and when there was a military turnout of which I was ignorant, I have sometimes had a vague sense all the day of some sort of itching and disease in the horizon, as if some eruption would break out there soon, either scarlatina or canker-rash, until at length some more favorable puff of wind, making haste over the fields and up the Wayland road, brought me information of the "trainers.
All Europe was producing big guns and countless swarms of little Smallways.
No, 'cause I had a big gun,' says Joe, `and I shot the wolf dead, Uncle Jim,--solid dead--and then he went up to heaven and bit God,' says he.
An antelope rested peacefully in a bed of daisies where, perhaps, two hundred years ago a big gun belched its terror-laden messages of death, of hate, of destruction against the works of man and God alike.
From the Fountain of Wisdom in the Wonder House to' - he smiled -'a little child playing by a big gun - the world prepared my road.