- to be an important and successful individual
- to be an influential person
- refers to a person who is a big shot
- The guy is among the big cheeses in the region and his word rules.
- I am not the big cheese and understand why you went to him to get your work done.
- Ever since his promotion, he has started to feel that he is the big cheese in the company.
- My sister was the big cheese in the family and people had to follow her whims no matter how silly they sounded.
- He has been the big cheese even before the elections, now he only has a position to his name.
- I cannot guarantee you will become the big cheese by heading in this direction but there is certainly a possibility.
The times when farming was the main occupation in people in England, this phrase was coined. To be the big cheese meant something important and good for supper was going to be made if it was brought out. This shapes its current meaning. Different professions then brought about more words in the place of "cheese" with time.
Another thought is that the idiom big cheese was taken from a definition of cheese that derived from Urdu, in which chiz denotes "a thing."
The British colonization of India mixed English speakers and Urdu speakers together, and one outcome was the phrase "the real chiz" to mean "a big item or occurrence." This developed over time into big cheese.
Synonyms and Variants
- big shot
- big gun
- big wheel
- big fish
- big enchilada