Definition of bigwig in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈbɪɡwɪɡ/


An important person, especially in a particular sphere: government bigwigs
More example sentences
  • Significantly, the violators include some political bigwigs, powerful businessman and town planners.
  • Politicians, princes and bigwigs of every stripe vied for a place in their circle and were roundly rejected.
  • What on earth induced the local bigwigs to want to wreck this picture postcard image by adding ‘city’ to the list?
VIP, important person, notable, notability, personage, dignitary, grandee, panjandrum;
informal somebody, heavyweight, hotshot, big shot, big noise, big gun, big cheese, big fish, biggie, big bug, Big Chief, Big Daddy, honcho
British informal brass hat
North American informal big wheel
Australian/New Zealand informal joss


Early 18th century: so named from the large wigs formerly worn by distinguished men.

  • People of importance in the 17th and 18th centuries wore large wigs that covered their heads and came down to their shoulders. These were the original ‘big wigs’. In Britain this type of headdress can still be worn by judges, the Lord Chancellor, and the Speaker of the House of Commons. In the 18th century bigwig began to refer to the person wearing the wig, and the word has outlived the fashion.

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