Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Slang One who is in charge: "[the President's] big enchilada on both foreign and domestic policy” ( Mary McGrory).
  • n. Slang Something of the highest value or importance: "[The team] won the big enchilada in 1980 and 1982” ( Scott Ostler).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A very important person, especially the highest-ranking individual in an organization.
  • n. Some item of high value, especially a top prize or reward.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. an important influential person

Etymologies

On the model of such expressions as big cheese.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Teaching Chief Steckel’s daughter to shoot a .22 and ride a horse earned him a sergeantcy, tours in Bunco, Robbery and the big enchilada — Narcotics.

    The Big Nowhere

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