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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
big gun
noun
EXAMPLES FROM OTHER ENTRIES
▪ The software company has done well in areas ignored by big guns such as Microsoft and Lotus.
EXAMPLES FROM CORPUS
▪ The big gun in the critics' arsenal this year was Wayne Levi and his four triumphs.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Big gun

Gun \Gun\ (g[u^]n), n. [OE. gonne, gunne; of uncertain origin; cf. Ir., Gael., & LL. gunna, W. gum; possibly (like cannon) fr. L. canna reed, tube; or abbreviated fr. OF. mangonnel, E. mangonel, a machine for hurling stones.]

  1. A weapon which throws or propels a missile to a distance; any firearm or instrument for throwing projectiles, consisting of a tube or barrel closed at one end, in which the projectile is placed, with an explosive charge (such as guncotton or gunpowder) behind, which is ignited by various means. Pistols, rifles, carbines, muskets, and fowling pieces are smaller guns, for hand use, and are called small arms. Larger guns are called cannon, ordnance, fieldpieces, carronades, howitzers, etc. See these terms in the Vocabulary.

    As swift as a pellet out of a gunne When fire is in the powder runne.
    --Chaucer.

    The word gun was in use in England for an engine to cast a thing from a man long before there was any gunpowder found out.
    --Selden.

  2. (Mil.) A piece of heavy ordnance; in a restricted sense, a cannon.

  3. pl. (Naut.) Violent blasts of wind.

    Note: Guns are classified, according to their construction or manner of loading as rifled or smoothbore, breech-loading or muzzle-loading, cast or built-up guns; or according to their use, as field, mountain, prairie, seacoast, and siege guns.

    Armstrong gun, a wrought iron breech-loading cannon named after its English inventor, Sir William Armstrong.

    Big gun or Great gun, a piece of heavy ordnance; hence (Fig.), a person superior in any way; as, bring in the big guns to tackle the problem.

    Gun barrel, the barrel or tube of a gun.

    Gun carriage, the carriage on which a gun is mounted or moved.

    Gun cotton (Chem.), a general name for a series of explosive nitric ethers of cellulose, obtained by steeping cotton in nitric and sulphuric acids. Although there are formed substances containing nitric acid radicals, yet the results exactly resemble ordinary cotton in appearance. It burns without ash, with explosion if confined, but quietly and harmlessly if free and open, and in small quantity. Specifically, the lower nitrates of cellulose which are insoluble in ether and alcohol in distinction from the highest (pyroxylin) which is soluble. See Pyroxylin, and cf. Xyloidin. The gun cottons are used for blasting and somewhat in gunnery: for making celluloid when compounded with camphor; and the soluble variety (pyroxylin) for making collodion. See Celluloid, and Collodion. Gun cotton is frequenty but improperly called nitrocellulose. It is not a nitro compound, but an ester of nitric acid.

    Gun deck. See under Deck.

    Gun fire, the time at which the morning or the evening gun is fired.

    Gun metal, a bronze, ordinarily composed of nine parts of copper and one of tin, used for cannon, etc. The name is also given to certain strong mixtures of cast iron.

    Gun port (Naut.), an opening in a ship through which a cannon's muzzle is run out for firing.

    Gun tackle (Naut.), the blocks and pulleys affixed to the side of a ship, by which a gun carriage is run to and from the gun port.

    Gun tackle purchase (Naut.), a tackle composed of two single blocks and a fall.
    --Totten.

    Krupp gun, a wrought steel breech-loading cannon, named after its German inventor, Herr Krupp.

    Machine gun, a breech-loading gun or a group of such guns, mounted on a carriage or other holder, and having a reservoir containing cartridges which are loaded into the gun or guns and fired in rapid succession. In earlier models, such as the Gatling gun, the cartridges were loaded by machinery operated by turning a crank. In modern versions the loading of cartidges is accomplished by levers operated by the recoil of the explosion driving the bullet, or by the pressure of gas within the barrel. Several hundred shots can be fired in a minute by such weapons, with accurate aim. The Gatling gun, Gardner gun, Hotchkiss gun, and Nordenfelt gun, named for their inventors, and the French mitrailleuse, are machine guns.

    To blow great guns (Naut.), to blow a gale. See Gun, n., 3.

Wiktionary
big gun

n. 1 (context military English) A large artillery gun or one of the largest-caliber naval guns (as on a battleship). 2 (context idiomatic by extension usually pluralized English) A person, group, thing, or course of action that is powerful, influential, or particularly effective.

WordNet
big gun

n. an important influential person; "he thinks he's a big shot"; "she's a big deal in local politics"; "the Qaeda commander is a very big fish" [syn: big shot, big wheel, big cheese, big deal, big enchilada, big fish, head honcho]

Wikipedia
Big Gun

"Big Gun" is a song by AC/DC. It was released as a single in 1993 and can be heard on the soundtrack to the Arnold Schwarzenegger movie Last Action Hero, as well as during reruns of the Savage Nation talk show as bumper music. It was later released on the 2009 box set Backtracks. It became the band's first No. 1 on the Album Rock Tracks chart in 1993.

AC/DC has played the song live only once during 1996 rehearsals but never at an official show.

Usage examples of "big gun".

The big gun fighter lay sprawled on his buffalo robe several feet from the fire.

It was a big gun, and he held it loosely over his crotch, aimed at my midriff, range about eight feet.

It was a big gun, but it was a big jacket with plenty of room in it, unlike Inspector Martin I didn't go in much for the Italian line.

After I checked it out, I showed it to a buddy of mine, a big gun buff, and he recognised it, too.

That big gun of yours, heavy as it is, will be swept away like a straw, I know--I saw the Johnstown flood!

Hazel, you tuck in right behind me and keep that big gun of yours at the ready.

Amarante stood there todthlessly half-grinning with his big gun held laxly, almost limply hi his hands.

The Skinks would use that big gun, the big brother of the buzz saws, to hit the Dragons.

There was no way to fire the big gun off-hand which meant the sniper was raising himself up out of the scrape.

He held the big gun too tightly, and it shook a little, enough to worry Monk and Pat -- and it would have worried Doc if he hadn't unloaded it a while ago.