Etymology
Advertisement
big bang (n.)

hypothetical explosive beginning of the universe, developed from the work of astronomers Monsignor Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître and George Gamow; the phrase is first attested 1950 (said to have been used orally in 1949), used by British astronomer Fred Hoyle (1915-2001) in an attempt to explain the idea in laymen's terms.

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
Big Brother (n.)

"ubiquitous and repressive but apparently benevolent authority" 1949, from George Orwell's novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four." The phrase big brother for "older brother" is attested by 1833.

Related entries & more 
Big Apple (n.)

"New York City," 1909 (but popularized by 1970s tourism promotion campaign), apparently from jazz musicians' use of apple for any city, especially a Northern one.

Related entries & more 
big shot (n.)

"important person," 1929, American English, from Prohibition-era gangster slang; earlier in the same sense was great shot (1861). Ultimately a reference to large type of gunshot; see shot (n.).

Related entries & more 
big deal (n.)

1860s, "a good deal, a large amount;" by 1878 in financial speculation, originally in California publications; see deal (n.1). As an ironic expression, popular in American English from c. 1965, perhaps a translated Yiddishism (such as a groyser kunst).

Related entries & more 
Advertisement
big time (n.)

"upper reaches of a profession or pursuit," by 1909 in vaudeville slang. As an adjective by 1915. The same phrase was common in colloquial use late 19c.-early 20c. in a broad range of senses: "party, shindig, fun, frolic."

Related entries & more 
dew claw (n.)

also dew-claw, "rudimentary inner toe of the foot, especially the hind foot, of some dogs," 1570s, from claw, but the signification of the first element is obscure (compare dewlap).

Related entries & more 
teddy bear (n.)

1906, named for U.S. president Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt (1858-1919), a noted big-game hunter, whose conservationist fervor inspired a comic illustrated poem in the New York Times of Jan. 7, 1906, about two bears named Teddy, whose names were transferred to two bears presented to the Bronx Zoo that year. The name was picked up by toy dealers in 1907 for a line of "Roosevelt bears" imported from Germany. Meaning "big, lovable person" first attested 1957, from the song popularized by Elvis Presley.

Related entries & more 
rat fink (n.)

also ratfink, 1963, teen slang, see rat (n.) + fink (n.). Popularized by, and perhaps coined by, U.S. custom car builder Ed "Big Daddy" Roth (1932-2001), who made a hot-rod comic character of it, supposedly to lampoon Mickey Mouse.

Related entries & more 
Dalai Lama 

one of the two lamas (along with the Panchen Lama, who was formerly known in English as the Tashi or Tesho Lama) of Tibetan Buddhism, spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, literally "the ocean lama," from Mongolian dalai "ocean" (here probably signifying "big," in contrast to the Panchen Lama) + lama.

Related entries & more