One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A boy who is relatively old or mature; (also) a boy who is old enough to look after himself or to cope with adult experiences (also (informal) used ironically, of a man).
2Informal. A form of address for a man, especially indicating familiarity or approval.
3Informal (originally US). An important or influential man; (also) a leading figure, organization, etc.; a major player. "to play with the big boys": to compete at the highest level, especially precociously or prematurely.
4A piece of heavy artillery.
5A nuclear weapon; an atom bomb or a hydrogen bomb.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in John Higgins (b. c1544), poet and linguist. From big + boy.
big boy/ˈbɪɡ ˌbɔɪ/
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