Word origin: bigwig

Monday, May 7, 2018

Can you guess the meaning of bigwig in these sentences?

Many bigwigs in sports attended the charity event.
The job candidate was interviewed by several bigwigs on the hospital's staff.

A bigwig (one word) is not a large wig or hairpiece. A bigwig is an informal reference to an important person, a VIP, but its name literally originates from the big wigs (two words) that people wore in the past. 

Dating back to the 18th century, bigwig is a reference to the powdered wigs that men wore back then. Rich and important men had larger, more expensive wigs, thus the term for these VIPs was coined (created) .

Some other names for bigwig are heavyweight, notable, big name, dignitary, big shot (informal), big cheese (slang, old-fashioned), and heavy hitter. Try adding bigwig or some of its synonyms to your vocabulary to increase your fluency. 

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