Green’s Dictionary of Slang

big adj.

1. in size.

(a) pregnant.

[UK]Lyly Euphues and his England (1916) 193: I have brought into the world two children. Of the first I was delivered before my friends thought me conceived; of the second I went a whole year big.
[UK]H. Mill Nights Search I 5: Alas, you know that I am big with childe.
‘I.T.’ Thorny-Abbey I i: Away, she’s big, big with child.
[UK]W. Taverner Maid the Mistress IV i: I’m big with Child, Sir.
R. Manningham Diary of Attendance upon Mary Toft the Pretended Rabbet-Breeder 26: She [...] most obstinately persisted that she was still big with a Rabbet.
[UK]Proceedings Old Bailey 13 Apr. 151/1: She was big with Child.
[UK]Proceedings Old Bailey 4 Dec. 17/2: Sarah Cuttoe. Farrel and South both gave me the baby-things, as I was big.
[US]E. De Roo Go, Man, Go! 9: She was six months big with a new baby.

(b) (US) used of large amounts of money; thus in gambling use multiples of 10,000; high stakes used in poker games where (as in drugs) the convention talks of nickels ($500) and dimes ($1000); thus big dime ; big nickel

[US]G. Devol Forty Years a Gambler 28: We had won some big money and were about to quit.
[US]J. Flynt World of Graft 174: Now, an A Number One guy goes out for big money or none at all.
[UK]Sporting Times 4 Feb. 1/5: He is being sued for big money by a leading music-hall for breaking his contract to put on his seven world-renowned performing elephants.
[US]J. Corbin Cave Man 320: Less than a week ago my shares were worth big dollars.
[US]G. Bronson-Howard Enemy to Society 329: And don’t be acting as if you weren’t used to big money, or else the boy will put it all over you.
[US]E. Ferber ‘The Afternoon of a Faun’ One Basket (1947) 142: You’d be pulling down big money.
[US]J. Lait Gangster Girl 4: Now she was in the nest of the big dough.
[US]C. McKay Gingertown 112: The few who were welcomed were known in the Belt as ‘Big Money’ Negroes.
[Aus]X. Herbert Capricornia (1939) 32: Carn do. More better first you pay up big money you owe.
[US]R. Graziano Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) 215: I decided to make fighting my career [...] stick with the ring and go for the big guys and the big money.
[US]R. Prather Scrambled Yeggs 58: There’s big dough in it if it’s worked right.
[UK]A. Baron Lowlife (2001) 147: It cost big money.
[US]M. Puzo Godfather 390: The Corleone Family has big dough invested here.
[US]S. King Dead Zone (1980) 16: Us pimps make biiig money, baby.
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 100: Jews got big money but they don’t know the score.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 4: Could be big notes Roy.
[UK]Guardian G2 16 July 3: People with the big money.

(c) in large quantities.

[US]N. Heard House of Slammers 22: Cigarettes were the medium of exchange [...] Dudes with big smokes could easily buy food and booze, pills, pot, drugs.

(d) of drugs, in large quantities.

[US]L. Bing Do or Die (1992) 34: He got hooked up with Cambodians. He go out of town, fly dope in, big keys.

2. in fig. uses.

(a) (orig. US) excellent, wonderful.

[US]B. Harte Luck of Roaring Camp (1873) 47: You were in big luck that Joaquin wasn’t hanging round when you dropped in to-night.
[UK]A. Binstead Mop Fair 91: Hilda had looked forward to a very big week.
[US]C. Coe Me – Gangster 25: I felt big after that store job [...] We got one hundred dollars each.
[US]E. De Roo Young Wolves 133: With the horn blaring he couldn’t enjoy the big raves any more.
[Aus]Tupper & Wortley Aus. Prison Sl. Gloss. [Internet] Big. Very good.
[UK]K. Sampson Powder 26: This was the start of something big.

(b) (orig. US) generous, magnanimous; usu. in phr. that’s big of you.

[[UK]N. Ward A Frolic to Horn-Fair 14: His Noble Worship looking round him as big, after he had paid the Beggar a Penny or his Title, as an old Cozening Curmudgeon, who has built an Alms-House].
[UK]Marvel XIV:343 June 16: Blinker had to pay up and look big.
[UK]J. Curtis Gilt Kid 35: Maybe there’s a chance for them to show off and look big.
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 235: I was the bloke to get the millions we wanted but Pat wouldn’t be big enough to see that.
[Aus]T.A.G. Hungerford Riverslake 95: That’s big of you.
[US]F. Kohner Affairs of Gidget 77: You’ve been real big to fix me up with Ollie.
[UK]P. Terson Night to Make the Angels Weep (1967) I iv: herbo: I’ll get your first drink, Dezzel. dezzel: Boy, that’s big of you.
[US]S. King Dead Zone (1980) 252: Isn’t that biiig of you, my God yes!
[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 1: big – gracious.
[UK]S. Armitage ‘Give’ Dead Sea Poems 14: You give me tea. That’s big of you.
[UK]Guardian 12 Aug. [Internet] ‘He wants to leave,’ said agitated Alexandre Martins, who is probably not a chippy socialist but is most certainly an agent. ‘But he will honour his contract because he is a professional.’ Well, that’s big of him.

(c) important.

[US]J.H. Beadle Western Wilds 46: He had what he called a ‘big biz’ at each successive terminus town, and was now in Omaha to buy a ‘little bill’ of ten thousand dollars’ worth of provisions.
[UK]C. Rook Hooligan Nights 29: You can’t get into a gang wivout you’ve done somefink big.
[US]W.N. Harben Abner Daniel 236: Oh Alfred! [...] I’ve got news fer you—big, big news!
[UK]J. Buchan Thirty-Nine Steps (1930) 4: I rather fancied the chap. From all accounts he seemed the one big man in the show; and he played a straight game too.
[UK]P. Marks Plastic Age 75: You cheered and howled and serpentined and felt big as hell.
[Aus]R. Park Poor Man’s Orange 123: In spite of her big talk about policemen, Mumma was dead scared of them.
[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 65: ‘Your name’s Menendez. The boys call you Mendy. You operate on the Strip?’ ‘Yeah? How did I get so big?’.
[US]E. De Roo Go, Man, Go! 29: Now scram will ya? I got big business with him.
[UK]B. Reckord Skyvers III iii: You’re born down here and think you’re goin’ to be big.
[WI]E. Lovelace Dragon Can’t Dance (1998) 227: Well, what’s so big about that?
[US]K. Vacha Quiet Fire 166: I called up a very nice gentleman in Atlanta who’s big in AA.
[UK]Guardian G2 1 July 21: Ternell, who’s big in church activities.

(d) successful, popular.

[US]C. McKay Home to Harlem 38: If he was a ‘big nigger’ perhaps—but she was too high-priced for him.
[US]L. Bruce How to Talk Dirty 182: [She] became even bigger by playing Las Vegas in a peekaboo dress.
[US]N. Thornburg Cutter and Bone (2001) 78: That new rock bar out in Goleta, real big with the kids.
[UK]T. Blacker Kill Your Darlings 195: Porn’s really big now as long as you dress it up as something a bit more respectable.

In compounds

big dime (n.)

$10,000.

[UK]A. Alvarez Biggest Game in Town 12: In gambling parlance, a nickel is $500, a dime is $1000, a big dime is $10000. ‘It makes it simpler,’ I was told. It also makes it more unreal.
A. Holden Big Deal 14: The greenhorn who sits down here and calls a ‘big dime’ can find himself in the pot to the tune of ten grand.
big nickel (n.)

(US) a sum of $500 or $5000.

[UK]Partridge DU (1949) 37/1: big nickel a large sum of money.
[US]J. Scarne Complete Guide to Gambling 115: A ‘big nickel’ is $500 [...] Other bookies may use these codes differently [...] a ‘big nickel’ could mean $5,000.
[US]D.E. Miller Jargon 292: Big nickel [...] $500.
[US](con. 1975–6) E. Little Steel Toes 122: Just did a big nickel in traveler’s checks, and that was pretty easy.

SE in slang uses

In derivatives

big-able (adj.)

(W.I.) massive, frighteningly huge.

[WI]J.G. Cruickshank Black Talk 23: A big-able man, a big-able house, a big-able dinner.

In compounds

Big...

see separate entries.

big...

see also separate entries.

big auger (n.) [SE auger, a tool that bores holes; thus one who makes ‘a big impression’]

(US, mainly Western) an important person, a boss.

[Big Stone Gap Post (VA) 3 Oct. 1/4: It was believed that AScott Newman [...] would scorn to ‘touch the city for so small a sum [...] he bores with a big auger’].
[US]A. Adams Log Of A Cowboy 125: I can’t quite make out this other duck, but I reckon he’s some big auger – a senator or governor, maybe.
[US]A. Adams Outlet Ch. v: By ten o’ clock I had got them to the first divide, when who should ride up but the owner, the old cowman himself — the sure enough big auger.
W.M. Raine Under Northern Stars 199: ‘I’ll show ’em who is the big auger around here.’ The broken teeth of Flannigan showed in an evil grin.
[US]R.F. Adams Western Words (1968) 19/1: big auger A cowboy’s name for the big boss.
New Buffalo Bill Weekly [story title] The Big Auger of Bar.
T. Gries Will Penny [film script] Well, that’s the story he gave the big auger.
G.D. Shirreffs Proud Gun 11: You were the big auger around here. Five years ago you ran Sundown.
big banana (n.) [on model of big cheese n. + showbiz top banana, the star comedian] (US/Aus.)

1. a superior person or one who claims to be so; also attrib.

[UK]A. Salkey Late Emancipation of Jerry Stover (1982) 168: But a name like Percy Dixon make you sound as if you belong to them big banana people over yonder, man.
[Aus]S. Maloney Big Ask 51: Wendy wore the big banana’s trousers in the public affairs department at Telecom.

2. the most important thing, the crux of a matter.

[US]T. Lorenz Guys Like Us 229: You’re playing for the big banana.
[US]C. Cook Robbers (2001) 11: He’s a hardshell Baptist an thinks this ride is the big banana.
big blink (n.)

death.

[US]Goldman & Fuller Charlie Company 331: ‘I thought, “This is it, the Big Blink”,’ he said. ‘I ran out. But he was just pimpin’ us.’.
big blow (n.) [SAusE blow, a storm]

(Aus./US) a hurricane.

[US](con. 1928) St Petersburg (FL) Times 12 July n.p.: The big blow was coming. One of the biggest blows of all time was on its way.
Orlando Business Journal 1 June [headline] Make plans now for the next ‘Big Blow’.
big board (n.) [SE board, a board at the Stock Exchange on which share prices are displayed]

the New York Stock Exchange.

[US]N.Y. Times 3 May 31: As much clerical work in the Exchange’s Clearing House as in the ‘big board.’.
[UK]Times 30 Oct. 14/1: Just before the close of the market on the ‘big board’ .
big bob (n.)

an aristocrat, a notable person.

[UK] ‘’Arry at the Royal Evening Fête’ in Punch 28 July 38/1: They’ve their slang, I suppose, these Big Bobs.
big Charlie (n.)

(US) syphilis.

[US](con. late 19C) S. Longstreet Wilder Shore 216: It was also called the Old Rale, Big Charlie.
big chief (n.)

1. an important or the most important man.

[US]Day Book (Chicago) 2 Aug. 11/1: Johnson, alias ‘Big Chief’ [...] is the best pitching proposition in the league.
[US]L.A. Times 22 Apr. III 22: A lieutenant just out of West Point is a ‘shave-tail,’ [...] A general is a ‘big chief.’ A colonel is an ‘eagle,’ because of his insignia.
[US]Ade Hand-made Fables 28: He was a Joke until the Music started, but after that he was a Big Chief.
[US]E. O’Neill Iceman Cometh Act I: Look at de Big Chief in dem days [...] Folks in de know tells me, see de man at de top, den you never has trouble.
[SA]F. Dike First South African 10: Are you the son of nkosi, the big chief here at the office?

2. (drugs) mescaline.

[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970) 45: big chief, the mescaline.
[US]E.E. Landy Underground Dict. (1972).

3. see big boss, the n.

big cigar (n.) [the stereotyped smoking habits of such figures]

(US black) a self-important person.

[US]Z.N. Hurston Bone of Contention (1995) 970: Come on! Youse a big seegar, but Ah kin smoke yuh!
big cog (n.) [play on big wheel ]

an important or self-important person.

GazetteNet.com 14 Jun. [Internet] Big E’s and Mike Superson are very wonderful to the community, and kind of unusual themselves. They’re a big cog in what makes this city run.
big cookie (n.)

a nuclear bomb.

[UK]A. Baron Lowlife (2001) 5: If they drop that big cookie I can always go down to the beach and swim out into the warm sea.
big cough (n.)

(US Und.) a bomb.

[US]Hostetter & Beesley It’s a Racket! 219: big cough—Bomb containing a heavy charge of explosive.
[UK]K. Mackenzie Living Rough 139: Sometimes we’d plant a pineapple to throw a scare into some storekeeper. And sometimes we had to let off a ‘big cough’ and wreck his joint.
big day (n.)

(US prison) visiting day.

[US]Mencken Amer. Lang. (4th edn) 580: In virtually all American prisons [...] visiting day is the big day, a prison visitor is a hoosier.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 26/2: Big day. (P) (West) Visiting day. ‘My old partner’s coming in big day and plant (place conveniently) a couple of briars (hacksaw blades) for me.’.
big deuce (n.) [SE deuce, two]

(US teen) the Second World War.

[US]G. Sculatti Catalog of Cool [Internet] (The) Big Deuce [...] World War II.
River Reporter (N.Y.) 11 Nov. n.p.: After the end of World War II, the ‘big Deuce,’ it was decided that it would be impractical to start commemorating an additional two days of wars’ ends.
big dick (n.) [generic use of proper name/dick n.1 (5)]

1. (US gambling, also big dick from Dixie, big Tom, Richard the Great) the point of 10 in craps dice; usu. ext. as big Dick from Boston.

[US]J.P. Quinn Fools of Fortune 540: The quaint expressions of [...] ‘little Joe,’ ‘big Dick from Boston,’ and the like.
[US] ‘The Game of Craps’ in Current Lit. XIII:6 558/2: Nearly every point on the dice is named. [...] ten sometimes is ‘Big Dick,’ and at others ‘Big Tom.’.
[US]Bisbee Dly Rev. (AZ) 13 Aug. 5/1: ‘C-c-even. Come eleven!’ ‘ Big Dick from Boston!’ .
[US]Stell & Null Convict Verse 18: Eighty days an-ah great Big Dick!
[US]Crowe & Chase Pat Crowe, Aviator 87: You probably recall the thrilling adventures of Snake Eyes, Little Joe, Phoebe Snow, Ada from Decatur, Richard the Great, and Box Cars.
[US]A. Baer Two and Three 18 Feb. [synd. col.] The dukes and kings will trot out the royal dice and let Little Joe or Big Richard do the talking.
[US]C.E. Piesbergen Overseas with an Aero Squadron 56: ‘Whatta ’y’ shoot?’ [...] ‘Big Dick’.
[US]C. Sandburg ‘Crapshooters’ in Smoke and Steel 34: The myths are Phoebe, Little Joe, Big Dick. / Hope runs high with a: Huh, seven—huh, come seven.
[US](con. 1917–18) S.V. Benét Beginning of Wisdom 221: ‘Big Dick!’ he moaned to the bones that clattered like spilt teeth.
[US]Hecht & Fowler Great Magoo 77: weber: Ten, eh? nicky: Big dick. Come on.
[US]Wash. Post 3 Oct. B8/6: A ten is ‘Big Dick from Dixie,’ and a twelve is ‘Boxcars,’ but three is just plain ‘Craps.’.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Hughes & Bontemps Book of Negro Folklore 202: 10 – Big Dick.
[US]J. Thompson Texas by the Tail (1994) 6: Joe, of course, is the lowest point on the dice. Above it are [...] , Eighter-Decatur (three [i.e. combinations]), Quinine (a bitter two), Big Dick (two) and the fielders, Heaven-eleven and Boxcars, which have no bearing after the initial roll.
[US] ‘Animated Dominoes, Dice’ at Old and Sold [Internet] Some of the best-known nicknames in dice are: [...] Big Dick, Big Dick from Boston: total of ten.

2. an important person or thing; also attrib.

[Aus](con. WWII) E. Lambert Long White Night 134: ‘Being a big-hearted sort of a bastard—’ ‘What sort of a bastard?’ ‘You ’eard, sport, Big-heart, that’s me.’ ‘Big dick.’ ‘Keep sex out of this,’ Bocker told him.
[US]Baker et al. CUSS 79: Big dick A sexually expert male.
[US](con. 1960s) G. Washington Blood Brothers 178: ‘Move over, girls, and let a real man sit, with his big dick self,’ Johnny said to me, motioning the other guys to move back.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 12 Jan. 4: I want all the white people to move to the back and let my big dick niggers come to the front.
[US]Simon & Price ‘Took’ Wire ser. 5 ep. 7 [TV script] Fuck your big-dick redball.
[US]D. Winslow The Force [ebook] Monty uses his big-dick gold-shield swag to convince this rookie to take Monty’s ID and run the test for him.

3. (US prison) a ten-year jail sentence.

[US]‘Spindrift’ n.p.: A sentence of imprisonment is a rap, one year is known as a calendar; five years a handful; ten years big dick, or deuce [DU].
big dish (n.)

(Aus.) a big win; thus go for the big dish, to place a large bet, to gamble heavily.

[Aus]L. Glassop Lucky Palmer 29: Never seem to get the right trot, max. Whenever I go for the big dish the horse I back gets beaten a skull.
big ditch (n.) [joc. deliberate understatement] (US)

1. (also the Big) the Erie Canal.

‘XYZ’ Knickerbocker Tour of N.Y. State (1968) 54: It must be confessed that the ‘Big Ditch’ does not present a great appearance when in an incipient state.
C.D. Colden cited in AS (1946) XXI:4 305/1: What was called by its friends ‘the great Canal’ and by its opponents the ‘big ditch’.
[US]H.C. Todd Notes 64: The Erie canal [...] was at first attempted to be laughed down under the cognomen of ‘The Big, and Clinton’s Dutch’ [DA].
[US]Harper’s mag. May 841/1: Tammany used the ‘big ditch’ scheme as one of the most effective weapons against him [DA].

2. the Atlantic Ocean.

[US]R.A. Wason Happy Hawkins 11: I’m the biggest fool this side o’ the big ditch.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.

3. the Panama Canal.

[US]Salt Lake Herald (UT) 1 Dec. 1/5: A Big Ditch. The Atlantic and Mexican Gulf Canal Company.
[[US]Kansas Agitator (Garnett, KS) 21 July 3/3: To dig a ditch through Panama, A hundred millions given.
[US]Marshall Republican (Saline Co., MO) 6 Dec. 1/2: The work already done on the Panama ditch is valued at $40,000,000.
[UK]E. Poole Harbor 163: For within a few years the Big Ditch would open across Panama.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 206: It is believed that Mr. Gilbert [...] was a worker in the Panama Canal Zone [...] one of the white men who ‘worked on the Big Ditch’.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
big doings

see under big doing.

big enchilada (n.) [coined by White House chief domestic affairs adviser, John F. Erlichman, to describe then Attorney-General John N. Mitchell]

(US) an important person.

White House Tapes 27 Mar. n.p.: Haldeman: ‘He [i.e. Attorney-Gen. John N. Mitchell] is as high up as they’ve got.’ Ehrlichman: ‘He’s the big enchilada.’.
[US]N. Thornburg Cutter and Bone (2001) 207: Oh you love him now, now when you’re the Big Enchilada and he needs you every hour of the day.
[US](con. 1968) D.A. Dye Citadel (1989) 173: Get at the Big Enchilada and get it over with.
[US]C. Hiaasen Skin Tight 183: Rudy Graveline was the big enchilada.
[UK]Guardian Travel 2 Oct. 13: Here they have the blood of Christ! Which in Catholic relic terms is very much the big enchilada.
[UK]Observer Rev. 20 Feb. 2: The big enchilada – the Presidency of the United States – is still out there.
[US]N.Y. Times 30 Oct. [Internet] But wittingly or unwittingly, both of these supposedly thorough inquiries actually protected the White House by avoiding, in Watergate lingo, ‘the big enchilada.’.

In compounds

big faces (n.)

(US black) high-denomination dollar bills (which bear larger than hitherto presidential portraits).

Jeezy ‘All There’ [lyrics] Nine hundred in my pocket, big faces all there.
big-feeler (n.)

(US) an arrogant, self-important person; thus adj. big-feeling, arrogant.

[US]Kansas Agitator (Garnett, KS) 16 Mar. 3/1: [He] is as pompous and big feeling [...] as a fussy old turkey gobbler.
[US]Valentine Democrat (NE) 27 Feb. 4/1: There is always someone trying to pound you down [...] one of those envious (big feeling and wonders why people don’t take to ’em) sort of fellows.
[US]Charlevoix Co. Herald (East Jordan, MI) 30 Aug. 5/1: J. Weisman, who owns and operates a department staore [...] is a big feeler.
[US]Chariton Courier (Keytesville, MO) 20 Jan. 5/1: The Big-Feeling Gink is lawying down the Law again. Every remark is a Statement; every Step is a Strut.
[US] in DARE.
big ferry (n.)

(US) the Atlantic Ocean.

[US]J. Brougham Basket of Chips 301: A fellow as has made hisself somebody on the other side of the big ferry.
big figure (n.) [SE figure; a number, a sum]

(US) large scale; thus go the big figure, to do something on a large scale.

[US]A. Greene Glance at N.Y. I v: A foo-foo, or outsider, is a chap wot can’t come de big figure.
[US]Burlington free Press (VT) 24 Jan. 1/5: Things is sadly haltered since the times when the snow used to go the big figure.
[US]W.T. Thompson Major Jones’s Courtship (1872) 83: Well, I glory in her spunk, but it’s monstrous expensive to go things on the big figer that she’s on now.
[US]Indiana State Sentinel (IN) 19 June 1/4: Thinking he could go the big figure, he went at a dashing pace.
[US]D. Jenkins Semi-Tough 10: Old Billy Clyde’s salary is up there in big figures now.
big finger (n.)

(US) the senior figure, esp. as a prison warden; thus second finger, deputy warden.

[US]Van Loan Fore! 59: Who’s the boss here? Who’s the Big Finger?
[US]C. Panzram Journal of Murder in Gaddis & Long (2002) 116: Big finger—warden; second finger—P. K. or deputy; screws—the big finger’s dogs. [Ibid.] 117: They have invited the warden and the second finger [...] and 8 or 9 screws.

In phrases

big-foot (v.)

to act in a superior manner.

[UK]T. Black Artefacts of the Dead [ebook] We don’t want them coming down here and big-footing the lot of us. Be just like them to steal the show.
big four (n.) [the old practice of manning all police vehicles with four officers]

(US black) tough, élite (often physically large) detectives, dealing with organized crime and similar areas; such police officers match their wide powers with indiscriminate physical violence and the general belief (in modern use) that all members of the black community are de facto criminals.

[UK]J.B. Booth London Town 240: So it has come about that the purely ridiculous spectacle of a posse of Big Fours, or Gigantic Fives, or Colossal Forties [...] holding up a roomful of respectable citizens supping and dancing, while names are taken and contents of glasses sampled, excites little or no comment.
[[UK]J. Sparks Burglar to the Nobility 134: It seemed as if all Scotland Yard was there [...] I was able to spot the Big Four — there was Superintendant Greeno — Superintendant Beveridge — the Lot!].
[US]A. Young Snakes (1971) 76: I’d be laid down to sleep nights [...] fast by my pillow, listening to the Big Four (a notorious quartet of brutal policemen who prowled the steets and alleys in sedans looking and asking for nothing but trouble) beating the shit out of someone.
big girl’s blouse (n.) (also blouse, girl’s blouse) [the term, now widespread, originated like the similarly deracinated gobsmacked adj. in the north of England]

1. a weakling, an ineffectual person; usu. found as a direct statement, You big girl’s blouse!

[UK]J. Stevenson Nearest and Dearest Series 2, episode 1 (camera script) 13: eli: Go round talking like that, you’ll be hearing from our solicitor. nellie: He is our solicitor, you big girl’s blouse [OED].
[UK]W. Donaldson Balloons in the Black Bag 41: The big girl’s blouse was sat seated on the bench, eyes closed, a look of foolish rapture on his face.
Curtis & Elton in Blackadder (1998) 261/2: Oh, Mr Byron. Don’t be such a big girl’s blouse!
[UK]I. Welsh ‘A Smart Cunt’ in Acid House 235: Hobo was a namby-pamby blouse.
[UK]Guardian Sport 31 July 16: Notice how Athers was able to get right up Donald’s pipe [...] generally provoking Mr 98 mph into behaving like a big girl’s blouse.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. Culture 11 Oct. 9: Only a right pair of girl’s blouses could be shocked.
[UK]Indep. 12 Nov. 18: He was the Boss in a world of girl’s blouses, he was the biggest.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[UK]Observer 7 Nov. 28: All cissy, big girl’s blouse stuff, fit for strange men in corduroys.
[UK]Guardian Travel 8 Jan. 4: Big girl’s blouse events like softball and golf.
big guy (n.) [guy n.2 (1)] (US)

1. anyone important, or considered as such, e.g. a gang boss.

[US]Wichita Dly Eagle (KS) 24 Apr. 4/3: ‘Gimme it, den,’ says de big guy [...] ‘If I was a big guy like you, ’ says 342, ‘I’d git wise to myself an’ try to stay on de square’.
[US]G. Bronson-Howard Enemy to Society 258: These big guys have all got funny looking relations.
[UK]B.E.F. Times 20 Jan. (2006) 163/2: ‘Nix on me,’ said the big guy.
[US]‘Digit’ Confessions of a Twentieth Century Hobo 90: We want to hit up the big guys. There are plenty of them around who would jump at the chance if we could only find them.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 27: big guy.— [...] any leading criminal or official in charge.
[UK]P. Cheyney Dames Don’t Care (1960) 33: He makes himself out to be the big guy.
[US]Monteleone Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).
[US]R. Graziano Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) 264: This big guy from the Capone mob, that wheel from the Milwaukee mob.
[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 207: The big guy’ll be pissed off at us for not cutting this Nolan down.
[US](con. 1969–70) D. Bodey F.N.G. (1988) 68: The big guys run the show and the ones that run it most are the ones [...] way back in the Rear.

2. a friend; also a joc. form of address.

[US]Eble Campus Sl. Fall 1: big guy – good friend: Hi, big guy.
[US]C. Hiaasen Lucky You 60: You’re lookin’ good, big guy.

3. (also big guy in the sky) see big boss, the n.

big hat (n.) (US)

1. an important person.

[US](con. 1948) G. Mandel Flee the Angry Strangers 309: It’s Yankee big hats and not Yankees he hates.
[US]A. Baraka Tales (1969) 79: The late show at the National was turning out, and all the big hats there jumped right in our line.

2. a police officer or state trooper [the headgear worn as part of many US police uniforms].

[US] in DARE.
[US] J.F. Runcie ‘Truck Drivers’ Jargon’ AS XLIV:3 202: Big hat — State trooper, state patrolman, state policeman, especially one whose uniform includes a large hat.
[US]National Lampoon Sept. 47: Wait ’til you see yer reflection in the big hat’s mirrored shades.
[D. Simpson ‘Goin’ Home’ at www.policepoems.com [Internet] With your gun belt in the locker / your big hat sitting high / your tour of duty is over now / it’s time we say goodbye].
www.trucksims.com Trucker Talk [Internet] Big hat – state trooper.

3. (US) a Mexican [the clichéd large Mexican hat].

[US] in DARE.
big hen’s biddy (n.) [biddy n.1 ]

(US black) a coward, a weakling.

[US]Z.N. Hurston Mules and Men (1995) 29: Aw, shut up, Gene, you ain’t no big hen’s biddy if you do lay gobbler eggs. You tryin’ to talk like big wood when you ain’t nothin’ but brush.
big huey (Long), the (n.) [play on SE long/Lousiana governor Huey P. Long (1893-1935)]

(N.Z. prison) a long sentence.

[NZ]G. Newbold Big Huey 7: When a longtermer arrives [at Paremoremo prison] inmates often comment, ‘This boy’s doing a long one; he’s doing the big Huey Long.’.
big idea (n.)

(US) a love object, a desirable individual.

[UK]E. Glyn Flirt and Flapper 73: Flapper: He was batty about her — but she found him a back number — after Billy became the big idea.
big Injun (n.) (also big Indian) [Injun n., lit. ‘big Indian’; thus, note big white chief ]

(US) an important person.

Punchinello (NY) 1:17 23 July 267/2: One day the wise men of Gotham sed one to another: ‘Let us bild us a tower which H. G. can’t flood, if he dams from now till dooms-day.’ A big injun took the contract.
[US]Jeffersonian (Stroudburg, PA) 12 Nov. 2/2: he was shouting [...] and playing ‘Big Ingin‘ generally.
[US]‘Cad McBallastir’ Society as I Have Foundered It 59: This Prince was considered a Big Injun.
[US]J.W. Carr ‘Word-List from Hampstead, N.H.’ in DN III iii 181: Big Injun, n. Nickname for a coarse, boastful man. ‘Big Injun says he has seen the world.’.
[US]J. London Valley of the Moon (1914) 108: I’m some big Indian myself, an’ I’ll be everlastingly jiggerooed if I put up for a wigwam I can’t be boss of.
[US]A. Brown Old Crow 326: You [...] tell us how bold and brave you are and how generally go-as-you-please we’ve got to be if we’re going to play big Injun, and then you tell me it’s indecent to sit here with Rookie.
big J (n.) [? big job]

(US gay) simultaneously fellating and sodomizing one’s partner.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 31: big J simultaneously fucking and sucking the sex partner; a shrimp job.
big jobs (n.) (also biggies) [euph.]

(orig. US juv.) excreta; occas. in sing.; thus do big jobs, to defecate.

[UK]D. Nobbs Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976) 56: I did biggies in my panties.
[UK](con. 1940–50s) Nicholson & Smith Spend, Spend, Spend (1978) 21: I used to be able to do big jobs without that!
[UK]J. McDonald Dict. of Obscenity etc.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 10 July 4: One of the Tartens disgraced himself at Cruft’s by doing ‘big jobs’ in the ring.
[UK]Indep. on Sun. 25 July 21: Resolving to do the big job henceforth in the toilet.
big jump (n.)

(US) death; usu. in phr. put someone over the big jump.

[US]H.L. Wilson Somewhere in Red Gap 353: Everybody was kind of glad he’d got off and kind of satisfied that he’d put this bad Injin, with his skull-duggery, over the big jump.
[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl.
big leg (adj.) [leg n. (9c)]

(US black) sexy.

Good Diggin’ 31/2: I bought this one with the knowledge that the ‘Big Leg Woman’ side is a duplication of the same side on Decca 7547 in my collection and therefore have no complaint with respect theret.
[US]1964Muddy Waters ‘Same Thing’ [lyrics] Why do all these men want to run a big-leg woman down?
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 80: We can [...] check out some of them big leg girls.
[US]N. McCall Makes Me Wanna Holler (1995) 170: Whatever happened to that big-leg gal who lived in Freedom Court.
[US]N. McCall Them (2008) 61: Maybe he would go to Beaufort one day and find that big-leg Geechie gal.
big legs (n.) [? who has trousers with big pockets]

a big spender.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular.
[US]Maledicta IX 149: The original argot of prostitution includes some words and phrases which have gained wider currency and some which have not […] big legs (a big spender).
big Lizzie (n.)

(US gambling) the point of ten in craps.

[Aus]Truth (Brisbane) 13 Nov. 9/4: In the language of the [craps] players [...] ten is ‘Big Lizzie’.
big lump (n.)

(UK prison) a long sentence.

[UK]Guardian G2 13 Jan. 16: The last prison I was in [...] had a reputation as one of the better places to serve your time if you were doing a ‘big lump’ (a long sentence).

In compounds

big magilla (n.) [play on the Magilla Gorilla show/gorilla n.1 (5); but note Yid. gantz megillah, a whole rigmarole]

(US) an important, influential person.

[US]G. Pelecanos Soul Circus 208: He’s the big Magilla in his corner of the world.
big man (n.)

1. (also big fellow, big honcho) any form of superior person, esp. in a criminal context; a prison governor [honcho n. (1)].

[US]Spirit of Age (Woodstock, VT) 15 May 1/4: Great men are scrace, but Big men are as thick as Job’s biles.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 12 Mar. 4/1: At Mudgee you can often see a ‘big man’ drive with indecent haste past a funeral cortege, while working men stand with uncovered heads.
[US]Lantern (N.O.) 3 Nov. 3: [One] who is supposed to be a big man in the boot and shoe trade.
[UK]Wipers Times 12 Feb. (2006) 3/1: Things We want Know [...] Why the dug-out of a certain Big Man is so much affected by subalterns of tender years.
[US]F.S. Fitzgerald This Side of Paradise in Bodley Head Scott Fitzgerald III (1960) 43: Then they think they pay me back by voting for me and telling me I’m the ‘big man’ of St. Regis’s.
[US](con. 1900s) C. McKay Banana Bottom 304: What big-big mens, doctahs an’ lawyahs an’ teachahs an’ preachahs b’en mout’waterin’ fer [...] an’ nebber could a get.
[US]L. Berg Prison Nurse (1964) 30: The doc swings some weight with the ‘Big Fellow’; that’s how he got this job.
[UK] (ref. to 1920s) L. Duncan Over the Wall 85: Hey, you [...] line up with this fellow. I’m taking you all in to the big fellow.
[Ire]‘Myles na gCopaleen’ Faustus Kelly in ‘Flann O’Brien’ Stories & Plays (1973) 123: Is de Big Man not here?
[US]B. Schulberg On the Waterfront (1964) 23: He [...] was only accepted by the big men in the neighbourhood because he had the good fortune to be the brother of Charley the Gent.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Syndicate (1998) 12: You [...] did something the big man didn’t like.
[US]D. Ponicsan Last Detail 51: ‘The Big Honcho,’ says Mule. ‘If he tells you to shit, you ask, “How much and what color, sir?”’.
[US]V.E. Smith Jones Men 51: Is the big man in yet?
[US]J. Ellroy Brown’s Requiem 207: The Big Man is everywhere.
[UK]J. Cameron Vinnie Got Blown Away 142: You’re a big man now Nicky Burkett, everyone gets to know.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

[Aus]L. Esson Drovers (1977) 11: Oh you poor fellow Briglow, me big-fellow sorry alonga you [...] Then all blackfellow alonga camp make-im big fellow corroboree alonga you.
[US]A. Bontemps God Sends Sun. 81: That’s big-man talk, son.

3. (US Und.) the Pinkerton Detective Agency.

[US]J. Flynt World of Graft 47: The Big Man’s* protectin’ most o’ them [*The Pinkerton Detective Agency].
[US] ‘Jargon of the Und.’ in DN V 438: Big man, The Pinkerton Detective Agency.
[US]Irwin Amer. Tramp and Und. Sl. 27: big man.—The Pinkerton Detective Agency, or one of its operatives.

4. (drugs) a dealer, esp. a major dealer, selling bulk quantities of drugs; also attrib.

[UK]‘Sax Rohmer’ Dope 228: They are covering the big man – Kazmah. Once he and Mrs. Irvin are out of the way, we can prove nothing against Mareno and Sin Sin Wa!
[US]D. Maurer ‘Argot of the Und. Narcotic Addict’ Pt 1 in AS XI:2 118/2: big man. The brains behind a dope ring; the one who seldom takes the rap. Most narcotic rings are controlled by gangsters of a vicious type, often with sound local political connections. The big man wholesales dope to peddlers and may racketeer peddlers for protection and the privilege of selling.
[US]C. Cooper Jr Scene (1996) 115: Give us the big man next to the big man who’s dealing directly with The Man.
[US]R.R. Lingeman Drugs from A to Z (1970).
[US]B. Davidson Collura (1978) 75: It was easy to spot the dealer himself, the ‘big man’.
[US]D.E. Miller Bk of Jargon 339: big man: A narcotics dealer on the next level up from the street pusher; any large-scale narcotics dealer.
[UK]J. Cameron It Was An Accident 136: Up here coffee was half the price only from what I clocked on the road still big man prices.
[US]ONDCP Street Terms 3: Big man — Drug supplier.

5. (US black) a gallon of wine.

E. Bullins Electronic Nigger 163: Let’s go on up to the store and get us a big man [...] a whole gallon.

6. see big boss, the n.

big medicine (n.) [bad medicine under bad adj.]

(US) an important or influential person or thing; by ext. also dangerous.

[US]A. Garcia Tough Trip Through Paradise (1977) 66: She was on to him and knew he was easy meat and that he was the big Medicine.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 18 July 18/2: The natives [of New Zealand] meet here once a week and chant the Decalogue and the Lord’s Prayer, under the idea that in some mysterious way they are ‘big medicine.’.
[UK]Kipling ‘An Unsavoury Interlude’ in Complete Stalky & Co. (1987) 82: Big medicine — heap big medicine! Phew! Oh, Lord, I wish I could stop laughin’.
[US]C.E. Mulford Bar-20 Days 143: ‘I carry “big medicine” agin hoss-thieves,’ he replied, tapping his holster.
[US]M.G. Hayden ‘A Word List From Montana’ in DN IV:iii 243: big medicine, n. Danger. ‘The Indians thought the white men were big medicine.’.
[US]G. Wolff Duke of Deception (1990) 72: He [...] emptied a clip of big medicine into four dark and deserted corners of the cellar.
big moment (n.)

(Irish/US) the person with whom one is infatuated.

[US]Helen Kane ‘Ain’tcha?’ [lyrics] I’m confessing / That I’m crazy over you! / Oh, I admit that you’re my big moment.
[US]‘Mae West in “The Hip Flipper”’ [comic strip] in B. Adelman Tijuana Bibles (1997) 96: Lotta can be depended on to give her new big moment a ride he’ll never forget.
[US](con. 1920s) J.T. Farrell Judgement Day in Studs Lonigan (1936) 623: She can be my big moment any time she wants.
[US]Wentworth & Flexner DAS.
[Ire](con. 1920s) L. Redmond Emerald Square 269: I was daft about her and she about me. In the ‘slanguage’ of the ’twenties, she was my ‘big moment’ and I was hers!
big noise (n.)

1. (US) trouble, disturbance.

J.S. McKee Throb of Drums in Tennessee (1973) 93: There may be a big noise here before long.
[US]R. Chandler Long Good-Bye 50: I expect to make a big noise in the papers out of this. Get lots of business. Private eye goes to jail rather than split on a pal.

2. (orig. US) an important, powerful person.

[US]H. Green Actors’ Boarding House (1906) 255: Who’s your friend, the big noise?
B. Fisher Mutt & Jeff 17 Jan. [synd. cartoon] Oh yaas! We are the big noises in art in America.
[UK]‘Sapper’ Human Touch 5: Were you one of the big noises at your school?
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 257: I happen to know what a big noise Senny Doane is.
[UK]Nichols & Tully Twenty Below Act II: I’m the Big Noise here.
[US]C.G. Givens ‘Chatter of Guns’ in Sat. Eve. Post 13 Apr.; list extracted in AS VI:2 (1930) 131: big noise, n. The warden.
[US]J. Spenser Limey 12: I learned that Brussi was the big noise in his own small territory – of Long Island City in Queen’s.
[UK]G. Kersh Night and the City 200: You wanna be a big noise. All right, I got a proposition.
[Aus]L. Glassop We Were the Rats 5: He was a real big noise, eh?
[Aus]D. Stivens Jimmy Brockett 107: Pat was a big noise in the Labour Party now.
[UK]N. Dunn Poor Cow 49: All these men are very important people, very moneyed people – they’re all big noises down here.
[UK]‘P.B. Yuill’ Hazell and the Three-card Trick (1977) 170: She thinks I’m a big noise in the car game in Essex.
[US]Bette Midler ‘Big Noise from Winnetka’ [lyrics] This is the story of a young girl who was the Einstein of the dance. / They called her Big Noise from Winnetka, against her no one stood a chance.
[Aus]R. Park Fence Around the Cuckoo 128: ‘Can I take Flash Jack?’ ‘Not to a sheep station. Not that little gangster of a dog. The Big Noise would have a fit.’.
[UK]I. Welsh Filth 18: The wog probably had a rich daddy who plays golf with some big noise down in London.
[UK]Guardian 15 Oct. 4: Rumpus over town’s big noises.
big nose (n.)

a derog. name for a Jew; also as adj.

[US](con. 1910s) J.T. Farrell Young Lonigan in Studs Lonigan (1936) 131: ‘No you don’t, bignose!’ said Red.
[US]S. King It (1987) 54: Someone just told someone else that I’m Jewish, that I’m nothing but a bignose mockie kike.
big — -o(h), the (n.) (also dreaded — -oh)

(orig. US) used of landmark birthdays, e.g. those that mark another decade, the big three-o, the big four-o etc.

J. Macleod Zingher and Me 53: So it’s 39, is it, and the big four-oh not far away?
A.H. Malcolm Final Harvest 5: Rudy, who had already passed what they called ‘The Big Four Oh,’ gave Susan a card that read ‘Perhaps you’re over the hill.’.
B. Cosby Time Flies 29: Fifty is called The Big Five-O, but Forty is The Big Four-O and Thirty is The Big Three-O.
A. Binder Pumping Iron after Fifty 7: CHAPTER 2 Reaching the BIG FIVE-O My first fifty years were spent trying to achieve what I should be, could be, almost was, or would have been.
Ryerson U. Campus News [Internet] Average alumni nearing big four-oh. The average age of Ryerson alumni is 37.9 years, according to a demographic report on graduates prepared by the Office of University Advancement.
blurb at amazon.com [Internet] The Dreaded Three-Oh. So, you’re in your late 20s and see the dreaded THREE OH staring you in the face.
L.A. Lyons From the Heart 86: The big three O / Wow, Wow, Wow, Woah, / The big three O; / The year you realize — / ‘I’m getting old you know!’.
big parade (n.) [the title of the film The Big Parade (1925), screenplay by Laurence Stallings, although the term is never used in the film itself]

(US) the First World War.

[US]L. Stallings [film title] The Big Parade.
[US]B. Traven Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1963) 247: Didn’t I kill quite a number of Heinies in the big parade? Did I? Hell, how they jumped!
[US]Berrey & Van den Bark Amer. Thes. Sl. 807: The Big Parade The World War.
[US]C. Himes Cast the First Stone 275: Goddamn, that looks like the Big Parade.
big pasture (n.) [as used by cowboys and other Westerners]

(US) a prison.

[US]R.F. Adams Western Words (2nd edn) 19/2: big pasture What the cowboy sometimes calls the penitentiary.
big peach (n.) [rhy. sl.]

(Aus.) the beach.

[Aus]Aus. Women’s Wkly 3 Nov. 10/4: You never move your bag of fruit (suit) and meat pie (tie) to the big peach (beach).
big people (n.)

important, influential people.

[UK]Trollope Dr. Thorne 59: When one is absolutely in the dirt at their feet, perhaps these big people won’t wish one to stoop any further.
big poppa (n.)

(US black teen) any influential black man, a power in his own community, aged 30 and over.

Notorious B.I.G. ‘Big Poppa’ [lyrics] Ready to Die [album] I love it when you call me big pop-pa / Throw your hands in the air, if youse a true player.
big show (n.) [SE show(-off)]

1. (US) an important person.

[US] in DARE.

2. an important situation.

[US]Van Loan ‘The Comeback’ in Ten-Thousand-Dollar Arm 203: He had all a big leaguer’s lofty disdain for those who have never been in ‘the big show’.
W.C. Witwer No Base Like Home 15: You small time knockouts are all alike — world beaters with the high school boys and tramps when you get in the Big Show.
big six (n.) [? there are six officers; the high number six in dice]

(US prison) the prison riot squad; thus big six talk n., empty, if aggressive talk.

[US]C. Shafer ‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy Bounty of Texas (1990) 198: big-six talk, n. talk which is accompanied by little action.
[US]Maledicta V:1+2 (Summer + Winter) 264: When fighting breaks out in prison, the inmates seek to avoid the big six, an emergency riot squad of prison guards.
big sleep (n.) [coined by US writer Raymond Chandler (1888–1959) as the title of his book The Big Sleep (1939), although HDAS suggests (without confirmatory citations) that he ‘gave currency’ to the term]

(orig. US) death; cit. 1970 refers to suicide.

[US]R. Chandler Big Sleep 220: And in a little while he too, like Rusty Regan would be sleeping the big sleep.
[US]W. Brown Teen-Age Mafia 68: A babe like you is too cute to take the big sleep so soon.
[US]T.I. Rubin In the Life 85: When someone hits the big sleep.
[US]Jim Morrison ‘When the Music’s Over’ [lyrics] Before I sink into the big sleep / I want to hear the scream of the butterfly.
[US]T. Southern Blue Movie (1974) 239: It’s about Angie . . . she did that famous Big Sleep routine. Know the one I mean. Made it, too.
U. of Virginia News [Internet] 5 Oct. There’s something about the ‘big sleep’ of death that makes the ‘little sleep’ of night strongly affect people.
wizardworld.com [Internet] 7 May DEATH OF SUPERMAN? Supes Faces the Big Sleep in Where Is Thy Sting?
[US]C. Hiaasen Star Island (2011) 37: The manored enclave [...] where Michael Jackson had taken the big sleep.
big spender (n.) [usu. slightly derog., the implication being that any such a ‘spender’ will also be a sucker n.1 (3a); note SE use in phrs. like last of the big spenders referring to someone who throws money around]

a fool, esp. as a bettor/gambler .

[US]L.F. Engler ‘Gloss. Air Force Sl.’ in AS XXX:2 117: CHARGER; BIG SPENDER FROM [home town]; FAR DARTER, n.; n. phr. Man who talks a good game and exudes self-confidence but always loses bets, card games, etc.
[US]I.L. Allen City in Sl. (1995) 77: In 1920s nightclub parlance a big spender was also known as a live one.
big squash (n.) [big squeeze , ? on pattern of big cheese n., SE squash, the vegetable]

an important person or someone who thinks they are so.

Ade I Knew Him When 61: The Big Squash [...] sat in the Mahagony Office and pushed the Buttons.
big stuff (n.) [milit. jargon big stuff, heavy artillery shells]

1. (orig. US) an important or self-important person.

[US](con. 1860s) R. Bradford Kingdom Coming 289: Penny is de big stuff down at de hoo-doo place.
[US]W.R. Burnett High Sierra in Four Novels (1984) 312: He got a job, for the summer, a croupier on a gambling boat [...] He was big stuff out there.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ ‘Cool Cat’ in Tell Them Nothing (1956) 72: He thinks he’s big stuff, but I’m the brain.

2. a strong, violent person.

[US]S. Crane George’s Mother (2001) 116: I’d ’a licked dat big stuff in ’bout a minute more.

3. (US) a term of address, usu. slightly derog.

[US]World (N.Y.) 20 Oct. 6/2: ‘You are a big stuff, you can’t hit the ball,’ yelled a Brooklyn crank as Connor came to the plate.
[US]O. Johnson Varmint 114: I’ll show you whether I’m afraid of you, you big bullies! You big stuff, you, come on!
[US]R. Chandler ‘The King in Yellow’ in Spanish Blood (1946) 51: Put that bazooka down, big-stuff.
[US]R. Chandler Little Sister 109: Sit down and rest your ankles, big stuff.
[US](con. 1969–70) D. Bodey F.N.G. (1988) 234: Go ahead, bigstuff [...] I don’t believe you’re any better than I am.
[US]Dr Dre ‘Bitch Ass Niggaz’ [lyrics] Who do you think you are? Mr. Big Stuff.

4. (US) a major criminal.

[US]R.W. Hinds in Flynn’s Weekly 19 Feb. 9/2: ‘Bagler’s big stuff.’ I got his slang. Big stuff meant that Bagler was a crook who conducted extensive deals.
[US]H. McCoy Corruption City 39: Big Stuff. The Master Mind.

5. an important situation, esp. with criminal overtones.

[UK]K. Howard Small Time Crooks 10: What’s all this about me bein’ in the big stuff now?
[US]S. Frazee ‘Graveyard Shift’ in Margulies Back Alley Jungle (1963) 93: ‘You been a dress model?’ Crestone asked. ‘Yeah! Big stuff! I got tired of parading in front of bitches and their men.’.
[US]H. Rap Brown Die Nigger Die! 38: It was supposed to be big stuff to come down to white folks’ games.

6. (US) a large amount of money.

[US](con. 1950s) D. Goines Whoreson 190: Second, ignorant ass nigger, the girl got big stuff. I mean big stuff.
[US]G.V. Higgins Digger’s Game (1981) 120: He’d get a taste of the big stuff.

In compounds

big toast (n.)

(US black) an outstanding person.

[US]L. Durst Jives of Dr. Hepcat (1989) 5: The party begins to jump steady again, the big toast shouts, ‘Play on in if you can’t cut a rug make like a bouquet.’.
big top (n.) [1970 cit. is reference to Leavenworth Prison, Kansas]

(US Und.) prison, esp. the main cellblock.

[US]C.G. Givens ‘Chatter of Guns’ in Sat. Eve. Post 13 Apr.; list extracted in AS VI:2 (1930) 131: big top, n. Prison.
[US]Weseen Dict. Amer. Sl.
[US]R. Graziano Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) 145: I am on top of the heap in the big top. I was a man now and nobody could deny it.
[US]Gaddis & Long Panzram (2002) 128: Leavenworth was called the Big Top by the underworld.
[US]‘Red’ Rudensky Gonif 21: This killing was witnessed by twelve hundred cons during the noon meal at the Big Top’s messhall on Sunday, March 26, 1916.
[US](con. 1920s) J. Brown Monkey Off My Back (1972) 37: An armored car, and a caboose, pulled out into the Santa Fe lines heading for ‘The Big Top’.
big twist (n.) [SE twist of fate]

(Aus.) a cause for celebration, a great success.

[[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks 8/1: Big twist, special meal served on Christmas, New Year, Washington’s Birthday, 4th of July and Thanksgiving (prison).].
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 20 Apr. 12/4: From what we saw him do the other day at Randwick, OLIVER should be ‘a big twist’ in the very near future.
[Aus]Baker Drum.
big vegetable (n.)

(orig. US) an important person, an influential figure, the boss.

[US](con. 1908) J. Monaghan Schoolboy, Cowboy, Mexican Spy 20: ‘The big vegetable in these parts’ he said, ‘is Tom Isles.’.
big wheel (n.) (also wheel) [the image of a smooth-running, powerful machine]

1. (orig. US) an important, influential person, esp. in business.

[[US]C.A. Davis Letters of Major J. Downing (1835) 68: I’m the big wheel, and you are the smasher].
[US]AS VIII:2 55/2: Wheels, substitute for big shots, leaders of a gang.
[US]A.J. Pollock Und. Speaks n.p.: Wheels, heads of police department.
[US]A. Lomax Mister Jelly Roll (1952) 219: Jazz became a big business in the early thirties, and Jelly Roll, who had been a big wheel in 1923, was a small-time operator in 1933.
[US]‘Hal Ellson’ Tomboy (1952) 117: Every one of us is a big wheel and [...] I’m one of the biggest.
[US]B. Appel Sweet Money Girl 130: A maharaja’s a big wheel who lives in India.
[US]R. Graziano Somebody Up There Likes Me (1956) 264: This big guy from the Capone mob, that wheel from the Milwaukee mob.
[US]M. Braly Shake Him Till He Rattles (1964) 34: He’s some kind of wheel among the Italian boys.
[SA]L.F. Freed Crime in S. Afr. 104: I wanted to be the ‘Big Wheel’ of Johannesburg.
[Aus]‘Charles Barrett’ Address: Kings Cross 71: ‘So? Who is Sam Penny?’ I asked. ‘A big wheel. From Chicago, New York, Paris, Rome. Anywhere’.
[UK]R.L. Pike Mute Witness (1997) 118: Johnny Rossi [...] A big wheel in the Syndicate.
[Can]R. Caron Go-Boy! 35: The so-called wheels with their convoy of followers were easy to spot.
[Ire]F. Kelly Annals of Ballykilferret 22: O’Lunacy was the ‘big wheel’ of the town at the time.
[US]Ice-T ‘I’m Your Pusher’ [lyrics] For this drug deal I’m the big wheel.
[UK]G. Small Ruthless 226: Bigga’s gang had become a big wheel in the drug trafficking business.
[UK]Indep. Rev. 10 Nov. 6: All are more or less in thrall to the ‘wise guys’, the syndicate wheels who call the shots.
[Aus]S. Maloney Big Ask 19: Makes you wonder how the government’s union cronies will react to attempts to slug their members. Not to mention the big wheels of the Transport Industry Association.
[US](con. 1964–8) J. Ellroy Cold Six Thousand 4: She just loooooved his daddy. He flew with her oodles. She knew he was a Mormon wheel.
[US]C. Carr Our Town 215: Ferguson – he was the big wheel [i.e. in the Ku Klux Klan].

2. in attrib. use of sense 1.

[US]Codella and Bennett Alphaville (2011) 31: Sabu is guilty of[...] impersonating a big-wheel dealer from a seventies blaxploitation flick.
big wheeze (n.)

(US) a senior business figure.

Eve, Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA) 25 Aug. 2/4: He is one of the ‘main guys’, or in the vernacular of the curb, ‘a big wheeze’ in the Voters’ League.
[US]Spokane Press (WA) 3 Nov. 2/2: He [...] is invited to cut loose [...] with a humorous reference to the introductory remarks of the local big wheeze who presented him.
[US]S. Ford Torchy 260: He ain’t the final word in this shop, and there’s nobody gets next to the big wheeze oftener durin’ the day than yours truly.
big white chief (n.) [cod Native American]

(orig. US) an important or the most important man.

[US]N.Y. Tribune 21 Mar. 13/1: Big White Chief Reviews Dress Parade of Yankees. Commander Roberts is apparently satisfied with his army.
[US]Wash. Times (DC) 26 Nov. 20/4: A.L. Cheny [...] remainded there, becoming chairman of the board of education and general big white chief to the town.
[UK]Sunderland Dly Echo 19 Oct. 3/5: There she was welcomed by the Mayor [...] and then shook hands with Sunderland’s ‘Big White Chief’.
M. Allingham Dancers in Mourning 315: I see a chap who is a sort of great white chief in his own little world .
[UK]Leamington Spa Courier 9 Oct. 7/7: [advert] The three Thrussel [...] wave a fond farewell [...] to their big white chief as he sets off round the world.
[UK]J. McClure Snake 36: I bet you’ll never guess where the Big White Chief is tonight!
[UK]Partridge DSUE (8th edn) 76/2/: since 1930s.
P. Hope An Artist’s Diary 5 Dec. [Internet] Tusa, the big white chief of the Barbican had a roped off pen in the foyer where he was sloshing back Chardonnay and sarnies.
big yard (n.) [SE yard, the exercise area of a prison]

1. (W.I.) a prison.

[WI] in Cassidy & LePage Dict. Jam. Eng. (1980).

2. (US prison) a prison recreation area.

[US]C. Shafer ‘Catheads [...] and Cho-Cho Sticks’ in Abernethy Bounty of Texas (1990) 198: big yard, n. -central recreation area in some penitentiaries.

In phrases

big bout ya(h) (adj.) [lit. ‘big (i.e. important) about you’]

(W.I.) of a person, important.

[UK]Smiley Culture ‘Cockney Translation’ [lyrics] Cockney say Guv’nor, We say Big Bout Ya.
[WI]Francis-Jackson Official Dancehall Dict. 8: Big bout yah famous, influential.
big dick from Boston (n.)

1. (US gay) a loudmouth.

[US]B. Rodgers Queens’ Vernacular 31: big dick from Boston (pej, fr pros sl, ’30s) puritanical at home but everything goes outside or away from it; a loudmouth tourist.

2. see big dick

big end (of) (n.)

(orig. US) the majority, the larger share (of loot); thus big end of a month, three weeks.

[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 30 Dec. 1/7: You’ll get the big end of my pile .
[US]J. London ‘A Piece of Steak’ Complete Short Stories (1993) II 1630: The winner took the big end of the purse.
[UK]J. Ware Passing Eng. of the Victorian Era 28/1: The ‘big end of a month’ is three weeks.
[US]J. Black You Can’t Win (2000) 175: The hunt was still on for the burglar with the big end of the money.
[US]T. Thursday ‘Twin Lose or Draw’ in Popular Sports Spring [Internet] We got the big end of the purse.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 27/1: Big end, the. A more than equal share of loot, frequently demanded by leaders of a gang. ‘Okay, Sapper, I’ll fill (join you) on this trick (robbery), but no big ends. I want a full cut (share).’.
[US] in A. Banks First-Person America (1980) 149: When fall came he got the big end of the horn.
big enough to choke a bull (adj.) (also big enough to choke a bull, ... calf, ... a cow, ... an elephant, ... a horse)

(US) of a bankroll, extremely big; note ad hoc var. in cit. 1935.

[[UK]Navy at Home I vii: Others appeared not of a nature as we have said, to be swallowed by any effort of patience and enough to choke a horse].
[US]Orleans Co. Monitor (Barton, VT) 6 Feb. 6/4: John Chinaman [...] carries a bundle ‘big enough to choke a horse’ as the saying goes.
[US]Eve. World (NY) 6 Feb. 10/6: He flashed a roll big enough to choke a horse.
Commoner (Lindoln, NE) 2 Nov. 13/1: [The] tourist, after handing over to the customs officers a bunch of money big enough to choke a cow, walked out.
Fergos Co. Democrat (Lewistown, MT) 30 Apr. 1/5: [He] pulled from his pocket a roll of bills that would choke an elephant.
Univeristy Missourian (Columbia, MO) 28 Nov. 4/1: In her fist was a roll of money big enough to choke the traditional cow.
[US]Day Book (Chicago) 29 June 8/1: Those delegates who didn’t bring a roll big enough to choke a horse, haven’t the price of a drink left.
Stories by Famous Men 120: ‘Got the money with you?’ ‘I suttinly has,’ answered the old man, and he produced a roll of bills big enough to choke a calf.
[US]Topeka State Jrnl (KS) 11 Dec. 8/7: A Roll of Money Big Enough to Choke a Cow will be blown in right here.
[US]Butte Dly Bulletin (MT) 5 Mar. 4/6: Cohen displayed a roll ‘big enough to choke a bull’.
Shoe Repairer & Dealer (US) 14 52: [He] likes to pull out a roll of bills big enough to choke a cow when he pays a bill, just to show off.
[US]Ocala Eve. Star (FL) 5 Dec. 2/2: I found E.T. Helvenston counting up the result of his day’s sales. He had kale enough to choke an elephant.
[US]N. Algren ‘Thundermug’ in Texas Stories (1995) 74: There was a wad in the right [shoe] big enough to choke a string-haltered mare.
[US]T. Wolfe Web and the Rock 401: Taking from her purse a wad of thousand-dollar bills, ‘big enough,’ said Mrs. Jack, ‘to choke a horse’.
[US]‘Curt Cannon’ ‘The Death of Me’ in I Like ’Em Tough (1958) 97: He comes in with a roll that could choke a horse.
[Aus]J. Wynnum I’m a Jack, All Right 11: I also happen to have a roll of greenbacks big enough to choke a horse.
[Aus]M.B. ‘Chopper’ Read How to Shoot Friends 3: Some ammo and a bankroll of cash that would choke a horse.
[NZ]McGill Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 73: enough to choke a bull A fat roll of money.
big I, little you (n.)

(US) an important person.

[US] in DARE.
[US]D. Dalby ‘African Element in American English’ in Kochman Rappin’ and Stylin’ Out 178: Big eye—‘greedy.’ [Footnote:] Dr J.L. Dillard has informed me that this term was rationalized by white Texans as ‘big I’ (in the phrase ‘big I, little you’).
big juta, little juta, all same price (adj.) [Hind. juutaa, a shoe, and orig. used of shoes]

(W.I.) anything goes, irrespective of size or quality; usu. used of a country person who lacks the city dweller’s standards of choice.

[WI]Allsopp Dict. Carib. Eng. Usage.
big on (adj.)

enthusiastic about, usu. in negative.

Transatlantic Rev. XXXIII–VIII 76: Sometimes, I am not very big on Stiles.
Hamilton & Reid Hospice Hbk 61: The English are not very big on psychiatry, tending more toward reliance on common sense.
C. Bram Almost Hist. 394: I’m not very big on music, period. I don’t know why. I guess I don’t have an ear for it.
[UK]Indep. Mag. 22 Jan. 12: As for his chances with drugs, well he was never really big on buying it anyway.
B. Toropov Complete Idiot’s Guide to World Religions 22: Finally, the priest told his companion, ‘I’m not very big on “why,” and I’m not very big on labels, either.’.
[UK]V. McDermid Out of Bounds (2017) 342: They weren’t big on fun.
do the big (v.)

(Irish) to self-aggrandize.

[Ire](con. 1880–90s) S. O’Casey I Knock at the Door 174: Shapin’, jeered the boy, tryin’ to do the big. You’re sayin’ that because you’ve none.

In exclamations

big whoop! [SE whoop, a cry (of exultation, triumph)]

(US) a dismissive, sarcastic excl., ‘why bother me?’.

[US]Hartwell & Bentley Open to Lang. 311: While down at the high school [...] would be the older students—dude, bogue and groovy—and the younger ones—giggle, date, and big whoop.
[US]S. Strak Wrestling Season 54: Big Whoop. So’s Underdonk [HDAS].
Carleton County Colloquialisms (New Brunswick, Quebec) [Internet] big whoop\’big ‘wup \ n – Of little consequence; does not matter; so what. Often used as a sentence on its own as a declaration of disinterest or to communicate that one may be over-exaggerating the significance of a situation; ‘So what if it’s snowin’ ’ big whoop.’.