the big cheese idiom

What Does the Idiom ‘The Big Cheese’ Mean?

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There are references to food in English idioms, and cheese has proven to be incredibly popular in the language. The idiom “The Big Cheese” was created among other idioms due to its widespread use. We will address the query, “What Does the Idiom ‘The Big Cheese’ Mean?” in this blog post.

the big cheese idiom

This idiom is quite an interesting one, and it suggests importance when it is used, even as the idiom implies. At first, “the big cheese” was referred to as the “real or big chiz,” where “chiz” was a word that originally meant “a thing”. It later changed to mean “cheese” as a result of the British colonisation of India.

Why Does Big Cheese Mean ‘Boss?’

Despite the many differences in its spelling, however, the meaning of this idiom has always stayed the same.

It can thus be accurately inferred that when someone is referred to as ‘the big cheese,’ he is called the most important person in an event or a location.

Other similar phrases that could be used in place of ‘the big cheese’ are ‘the big deal,’ ‘big shot,’ ‘big fish,’ ‘the head honcho,’ ‘the big enchilada,’ ‘the big gun,’ ‘the big wheel,’ ‘the top dog,’ etc. All of these are dependent on which is most preferred to be used at any point.

In the 19th century, to be precise, both the supply and availability levels of the actual cheese products were deficient. This made their selling price very expensive in retail stores and supermarkets.

Due to this, the owners of these stores and farm outlets that could lay their hands on cheese at that time were considered big and important. That is because everyone turned to their business enterprises for the purchase of cheese, making their profits skyrocket.

From then on, the phrase ‘the big cheese’ was adopted and has since been in use for over a century.

The idiom means boss or someone important,’ and not just in the cheese-producing factories and retail companies, but in society at large. The phrase is still used to this day and has retained its meaning.

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Why Is Chief Mendez Called ‘The Big Cheese?’

Contrary to what many people may assume, Chief Mendez is not a human personality but a fictional character in a video game called Halo. Chief Mendez plays the role of a commanding officer in this game, overseeing the Marines.

However, the name ‘big cheese’ is not given to him based on his role as an authority in the game. It is because of the attitudinal traits he exhibits as a leader, including fierceness, discipline, and determination. Chief Mendez is given this title because of his fierce, loyal, and dedicated nature.

What Does the Slang Word ‘Cheeze’ Mean?

The slang word ‘Cheeze’ serves as an alternative to the more widely recognized spelling of the word ‘cheese,’ and it finds application when referring to money.

The origin of the slang ‘cheeze’ can be traced back to the mid-1800s to the 1900s, a period during which it was commonly incorporated into hip-hop lyrics.

Hip-hop, a music genre known for intentionally misspelling words to enhance its flair, played a pivotal role in popularizing the term. Other slang words, such as ‘bread,’ ‘paper,’ ‘racks,’ and ‘stacks,’ have also been acknowledged for referring to money.

Beyond its financial connotation, ‘cheeze’ or ‘cheese’ is also employed to denote vegan cheese, a non-dairy product. This versatile ingredient features in numerous recipes, including pizza, pasta, and grilled cheese sandwiches, to create flavorful and satisfying meals.

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Conclusion

Over time, the idiom ‘the big cheese’ had some other phrases that acted as alternative expressions. However, the meaning of this idiom has remained unchanged. The idiom portrays respect and deference for someone in an important position in any sphere of life. So, regardless of when the idiom is used, it is clear that it is part of everyday language.

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