go great guns

go great guns

perform forcefully, vigorously or successfully – informal

1913 - Field - A moment later Louvois shot out, passed Sanquhar and Fairy King and going great guns and beat the favourite by a head.


a big gun = a big cheese = a big fish = a big noise = a big shot = a big wheel

an important and influential person – informal

These are mainly self-explanatory with the exception of cheese itself which is of doubtful origin but may be from Persian and Urdu meaning thing. As a phrase, big cheese seems to have originated in early20th-century US slang, as did big noise. Big wheel in this metaphorical sense (as opposed to the fairground ride known as a Ferris wheel) and big shot are similarly US in origin (mid 20th century). Big fish may have connotations either of something it is desirable for you to catch or of the metaphorical expression a big fish in a small pond.

blow great guns

be very windy – informal

go down with guns firing = go down with all guns firing

fail or be beaten, but continue to offer resistance until the end.

jump the gun

act before the proper or appropriate time – informal

IN athletics, a competitor who jumps the gun sets off before the starting pistol has been fired. The expression appears in the early 20th century as beat the gun.

smoking gun

a piece of incontrovertible evidence

This phrase draws on the assumption, a staple of detective fiction, that the person found with a recently fired gun must be the guilty party. The use of the phrase in the late 20th century was particularly associated with the Watergate scandal in the early 1970s involving the US President Richard Nixon. When one of the Watergate tapes revealed Nixon's wish to limit the FBI's role in the investigation, Barber B. Conable famously commented : I guess we have found the smoking pistol, haven't we?

1998 - New Scientist - This genetic smoking gun is evidence of a migration out of Asia that is hard to refute.

stick to your guns

refuse to compromise or change, despite criticism - informal

The image here is of a soldier maintaining his position under enemy fire.

1998 - New Scientist - Researchers have bravely stuck to their guns as they went about seeking public funds.

top gun

a (or the) most important person

under the gun

under great pressure – North American informal

with guns blazing = with all guns blazing

with great determination and energy, often without thought for the consequences - informal

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