big gun/big wheel

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Cleare

Senior Member
IDF
Russian
Hello!

Could you help me?
I'm trying to feel the difference between the words. I understand that they are synonyms, but both exist, that means there is a difference.

Thank you in advance for your help and comments!
 
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Hello Cleare

    Can you give us a context in which you'd like to use one of the expressions?
     

    Cleare

    Senior Member
    IDF
    Russian
    Hello Cleare

    Can you give us a context in which you'd like to use one of the expressions?
    Sorry,:confused: but there isn't any context. I'm trying to understand how these expressions can be used and to find their equivalents in Russian.:eek:
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Sorry,:confused: but there isn't any context. I'm trying to understand how these expressions can be used and to find their equivalents in Russian.:eek:
    OK - but that makes it a lot harder for us to comment:eek:;):(

    I've had a look at the Google News hits for "big gun" (click) and "big wheel" (click). {Hint: Google News is often a good place to go if you want to find out how a word or expression is used in context - one easy way to get there is to look up something in the WR English Dictionary and hit "in context"}

    Both "big gun" and "big wheel" mean "important person".

    I think the difference is that "big gun" is usually used of someone who is a heavy hitter - a fighter.

    Whereas "big wheel" simply means someone who plays an important role in an organisation.

    Other people's views may be completely different....:(

    ------------
    PS. I don't think I've ever used either "big gun" or "big wheel".
     
    Last edited:

    Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    I've heard 'send out the big guns'/'bring out the big guns', I think in a sporting or other competitive context.
    For example, a team is losing a football match so they 'send out the big guns' (i.e. their best remaining players) in the hope of getting a result.

    I've only heard 'big wheel' used as Loob suggests, 'he is a big wheel in XXX company/in the government'.
     

    Cleare

    Senior Member
    IDF
    Russian
    OK - but that makes it a lot harder for us to comment:eek:;):(

    I've had a look at the Google News hits for "big gun" (click) and "big wheel" (click). {Hint: Google News is often a good place to go if you want to find out how a word or expression is used in context - one easy way to get there is to look up something in the WR English Dictionary and hit "in context"}

    Both "big gun" and "big wheel" mean "important person".

    I think the difference is that "big gun" is usually used of someone who is a heavy hitter - a fighter.

    Whereas "big wheel" simply means someone who plays an important role in an organisation.

    Other people's views may be completely different....:(

    ------------
    PS. I don't think I've ever used either "big gun" or "big wheel".
    Thank you, Loob!
    Before putting a thread here I tried to managed myself... Unfortunately I failed...:eek:
    And a good surprise!!! Your explanation is exactly what I have been looking for!!!:thumbsup: Thank you! You helped me!!
     

    Cleare

    Senior Member
    IDF
    Russian
    I've heard 'send out the big guns'/'bring out the big guns', I think in a sporting or other competitive context.
    For example, a team is losing a football match so they 'send out the big guns' (i.e. their best remaining players) in the hope of getting a result.

    I've only heard 'big wheel' used as Loob suggests, 'he is a big wheel in XXX company/in the government'.
    Thank you, Bevj, for your comment!:)
    It's very useful!!
     

    blasita

    Senior Member
    Spain. Left seven years ago
    Hello.

    I'd like to know which of the following is/are more used nowadays:

    Big gun/wheel/wig/fish/cheese/noise/shot (= a leader, an important person).

    Thank you.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    That is not a question any of us can answer. You might get a rough idea by Googling "big gun", "big wheel", bigwig, "big fish", etc, but that would not be at all accurate.
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    I believe that it is actually a question that can be answered by native speakers, and I trust that someone will help.
    ... and I was answering you as a native speaker who takes an interest in his native language. All of these phrases (word in the case of bigwig) are used, but I have no idea of the frequency of their use. In addition, any attempt to answer the question through a corpus is unlikely to succeed, since most have natural English meanings as well as their metaphoric meaning - the army had a big gun, the big wheel was the most popular fairground ride, the big fish drew customers to the fishmonger's window, etc. It is not a question that can be answered with even a scintilla of precision.
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    One thing I can tell you is that I have never in my life heard "big noise" used as a term for a person. You mean you came across something like "John is a big noise"? Where did you find that?
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    One thing I can tell you is that I have never in my life heard "big noise" used as a term for a person. You mean you came across something like "John is a big noise"? Where did you find that?
    Well that answers a fragment of blasita's question - "big noise" certainly exists in BE - From the OED
    9. the (also a) big noise : a person who or thing which is the object of general notice or comment; a person of note. Also in extended use.

    [1908 G. H. Lorimer Jack Spurlock vii. 153 A lot of people are beginning to think that Teddy's a mere noise.]
    1909 Sporting Life 9 Oct. 14/2 The ‘Big noise’ is the ‘Mainspring’ of the ‘Whole works’, as you like.
    1927 T. E. Lawrence Let. 8 Feb. (1938) 506 Drill Parades bi-weekly when a big noise draws near—Sir Sam.
    1957 M. Kennedy Heroes of Clone i. v. 50 Say you don't want him. You're the big noise here.
    1985 Audio Visual Feb. 27/1 Chiara Boeri‥runs the computer graphics department at the big new noise in Parisian image production—Computer Video Film.
    2002 Independent (Nexis) 7 Feb. (Sport) 7 When the British were big noises round here, they persuaded 40 Maori chiefs to sign a treaty effectively surrendering their sovereignty.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Oh yes, I hear big noise a lot ~ I'd say that one's still very current in BrE:)
    Despite having used the word only yesterday (in writing), I would classify bigwig as probably a bit old hat.
    Big gun: I think I'd only ever use this in the phrase bring out [their] big guns, as was mentioned earlier.
    Big wheel: as described earlier ~ specifically someone big in a particular organization, company, etc.
    Big fish/cheese: definitely on the 'very' side of informal. Fish feels a shade more pejorative than cheese to me, for some mysterious reason. (Big fish comes in handy in the expression big fish in a small pond:))
    As for big shot (bigshot), well, that's American for big noise:D
     

    blasita

    Senior Member
    Spain. Left seven years ago
    Thank you for all the replies.

    I must have expressed myself poorly: really sorry about that. I did not mean to ask about any statistics but just wanted to know about your usage. As I was in a hurry, after the first three posts I decided to ask two British speakers, and they told me more or less what Ewie has said (thank you, Ewie).

    Many thanks again.
     
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