big cheese


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big cheese

An important, successful, or influential person. Jacob thinks he's a big cheese now that he's been promoted to assistant manager. I'm the big cheese around here, so you have to do what I say.
See also: big, cheese

big cheese

Also, big shot or gun or wheel or enchilada . An important, powerful person; the boss. For example, She loved being the big cheese of her company; the big guns in Congress are bound to change the President's bill; you'd better not act like a big shot among your old friends; Harry was the big wheel in his class ; and You'll have to get permission from the big enchilada. The first term dates from the late 1800s and its origin is disputed. Some think it comes from the Urdu word chiz or cheez for "thing," but others hold it plays on the English word "chief." Big gun is much older, dating from the early 1800s; big shot became very popular in the late 1920s, particularly when used for underworld leaders of gangsters; big wheel dates from about the same period. Big enchilada, often put as the big enchilada, is the newest, dating from the early 1970s.
See also: big, cheese

a big cheese

mainly BRITISH, INFORMAL
If you describe someone as a big cheese, you mean that they have an important and powerful position in an organization. Maire is undoubtedly the big cheese of the Jura wine producers. Several big cheeses from the State Department attended the conference. Note: Big cheese can also be used before a noun. He was a big-cheese divorce lawyer. Note: The word `cheese' in this expression may be a corruption or misunderstanding of the Urdu word `chiz' or `cheez', meaning `thing'. This started being used in English in about 1840 because of the British presence in India. Later the word came to refer to a person or boss.
See also: big, cheese

a big cheese

an important and influential person. informal
Other versions of this phrase substitute fish , gun , noise , shot , or wheel for cheese . These are mainly self-explanatory, with the exception of cheese itself, which is of doubtful origin but may be from Persian and Urdu chiz meaning ‘thing’. As a phrase, big cheese seems to have originated in early 20th-century US slang, as did big noise. Big wheel in this metaphorical sense (as opposed to the fairground ride known as a Ferris wheel) and big shot are similarly US in origin (mid 20th century). Big fish may have connotations either of something it is desirable for you to catch or of the metaphorical expression a big fish in a small pond .
See also: big, cheese

big cheese

n. the boss; the key figure; the leader. Here’s a note from the big cheese telling me to come in for a chat.
See also: big, cheese

big cheese, the

The boss, an important person; also, a self-important person. This term is a slangy Americanism dating from the late nineteenth century, and its etymology is disputed. Some believe it comes from the Persian or Urdu word chiz or cheez for “thing”; others believe it is simply a play on the English word chief. There are several synonymous usages, among them big gun, big shot, and big wheel. The first dates from the 1830s. An 1834 citation has it, “The big guns of the nation are there [in Washington].” The last two expressions both date from the 1930s.
See also: big

big cheese

A very important person. The phrase seems to have come from, literally, a very large wheel of cheese. After President Jefferson was given one of Cheshire in 1802, other dairies made and displayed huge wheels for publicity purposes. The cheeses attracted lots of attention, and so it wasn't much of a jump to referring to someone who attracted attention as a “big cheese.” Although some have suggested that “cheese” came from the Hindu word “chiz,” for “thing” that the British heard as “cheese,” no paper trail exists to show that Americans started using the phrase though any transatlantic connection. Similar “big” phrases are more common, such as big deal and big wheel.
See also: big, cheese
References in periodicals archive ?
The Big Cheese is not just a great restaurant, they are also an incredible supporter of the Miami community.
While a year later in 2006, about 80,000 visitors descended on the town for the three-day Big Cheese weekend.
Big Cheese organiser Stacy Francis said this year's free event was likely to be the biggest yet, thanks to the warm weather in Caerphilly, where temperatures reached 22C in the festival's first 48 hours.
Spotted in the Christie's sale of the Casimir Collection of Metalware 1500-1900 (featured on these pages recently) the late 19th century nickel brass dog collar is stamped "Sandbach" and with the name of the creature's owner - "WCox", who was obviously a big cheese in the South Cheshire market town.
The big cheese: Edelweiss Creamery in Monticello, Wis.
TALKING of German legends, national manager Jurgen Klinsmann trod on the toes of big cheese Franz Beckenbauer when he called for the 2006 World Cup to break with tradition and allow defending champions Brazil, and not the hosts, to play the fisrt match.
NORTH-based bakery chain Greggs is the big cheese when it comes to sandwiches, according to the consumer magazine Which?
Originally written in 1933, this long overlooked classic follows the rise and fall of Frans Laarmans who, despite his low regard of a certain dairy product, finds himself the big cheese in an Edam exporting firm.
THOUSANDS of people made their way to Caerphilly over the weekend for the Big Cheese festival.
Runners-up: Royal Welsh Show in Builth Wells and Caerphilly Big Cheese Festival.
Visitors to this year's Big Cheese Festival in Caerphilly, which runs from Friday to next Sunday will get the chance to see Sean taking part in cookery demonstrations preparing a range of tasty dishes.
With the course having attracted big crowds for the two 'gratis' years and made pounds 270,000 in the second of them, Chris Palmer, the big cheese at the Northamptonshire venue, has decided there is no need to revert to charging punters for entry.
I swank around during the week thinking I'm the big cheese but you don't feel like that when you are in the ring with a chap who knows what he's doing.