great gun

great gun

An important, successful, or influential person. He's a great 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 great guns, so he called a company meeting with the executive board.
See also: great, gun

great guns

An exclamation of surprise or dismay. Great guns, you startled me!
See also: great, gun

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 ?
You would almost think a great gun had been discharged; and if you noticed the light wreath of vapor from the spiracle at his other extremity, you would think that that was the smoke from the touch-hole.
It will all be as it was when I first spoke to thee under Zam-Zammah the great gun -'
Some miles from the fort we met a man, who told us that a great gun had been fired, which is a signal that Indians are near.
Above our heads the explosive booming gusts of wind passed continuously, justifying the sailor's saying "It blows great guns.
Then I heard quite distinctly a booming ex- actly like the sound of great guns.
Who should know so well as I that it is but a handloom compared to the great guns that reverberate through the age to come?
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?
All these hardened and impenitent man-killers, to whom death in its awfulest forms is a fact familiar to their every-day observation; who sleep on hills trembling with the thunder of great guns, dine in the midst of streaming missiles, and play at cards among the dead faces of their dearest friends, - all are watching with suspended breath and beating hearts the outcome of an act involving the life of one man.
Great guns, bombs, and mines must have leveled every building that man had raised, and then nature, unhindered, had covered the ghastly evidence of human depravity with her beauteous mantle of verdure.
On gala days the town fires its great guns, which echo like popguns to these woods, and some waifs of martial music occasionally penetrate thus far.
Why, great guns," I said, "don't I want to find the castle?
The admired piratical ship had blown up, in the midst of a vast fleet of ships of all rates, and boats of all sizes; and on the deep was nothing but ruin; nothing but burning hulls, bursting magazines, great guns self-exploded tearing friends and neighbours to pieces, drowning men clinging to unseaworthy spars and going down every minute, spent swimmers floating dead, and sharks.
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.
These galleries are like spacious railway tunnels, and at short intervals in them great guns frown out upon sea and town through portholes five or six hundred feet above the ocean.
I suppose that by comparison with the great guns of modern naval vessels of the outer world it was a pitifully small and inadequate thing; but here in Pellucidar, where it was the first of its kind, it was about as awe-inspiring as anything you might imagine.