great guns

Also found in: Dictionary, Wikipedia.
Related to great guns: going great guns

go great guns

To do something enthusiastically and successfully. Primarily heard in UK, Australia. He was hesitant at first, but now that he's been on the job for a month, he's going great guns.
See also: go, 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

great guns, going

Proceeding vigorously. This term comes from British naval slang of the late eighteenth century, when blowing great guns signified a violent wind or storm. Another meaning for great guns, important persons, persisted throughout the nineteenth century, whereas in America the term was also an expletive for astonishment, comparable to “By George!” or “Great Scott!” It is the naval meaning that was transferred into the slangy cliché, however.
See also: going, great
References in classic literature ?
There they are whacking away at each other, great guns going, shells exploding, magazines bursting, ironwork flying about like straw in a gale, all we've been dreaming of for years
To say that she is flung down on her side in the waves, with her masts dipping into them, and that, springing up again, she rolls over on the other side, until a heavy sea strikes her with the noise of a hundred great guns, and hurls her back - that she stops, and staggers, and shivers, as though stunned, and then, with a violent throbbing at her heart, darts onward like a monster goaded into madness, to be beaten down, and battered, and crushed, and leaped on by the angry sea - that thunder, lightning, hail, and rain, and wind, are all in fierce contention for the mastery - that every plank has its groan, every nail its shriek, and every drop of water in the great ocean its howling voice - is nothing.
I suppose the Lord Chancellor, and the Vice Chancellors, and the whole Chancery battery of great guns would be infinitely astonished by such unreason and injustice in one of their suitors," pursued my guardian.
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.
Top foodies including Hemsley sister Melissa and Bake Off chef Chetna Makan tucked into TV chef John Gregory-Smith's delicious new Moroccan menu at London's Great Guns Social.
AZ are going great guns in the Eredivisie this season.
They're going great guns right now and enjoyed a tremendous win at Wigan at the weekend.
They are going great guns so come on Dandies, at least try to enjoy it.
Palawan is going great guns because everyone is involvedthe government, the local government units, nongovernment organizations, the military and the people themselvesthe presence of the New People's Army notwithstanding.
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.
The Willie Mullins-trained nine-year-old was still going great guns in last year's Grand National when he fell around the second circuit at Becher's Brook.
This year's are going great guns after two weeks in growbags.