: an important and often arrogant person
A contingent of hospital muckety-mucks swept into Adelaide's room, peered at her over their glasses, briefly discussed her case, and swept out again.
Did You Know?
The Chinook of the Pacific Northwest were avid traders, and in the course of their history a trade language developed that came to be known as Chinook jargon, based on a combination of Chinook and other American Indian languages with English and French. The Chinook jargon term "hayo makamak" meant "plenty to eat." By a process called folk etymology, in which a word of another language is transformed to a more familiar-sounding term, "hayo" was identified with "high" and the spelling and meaning of the entire phrase was transformed. Beginning in the 19th century, the term "high-muck-a-muck" referred to a self-important person. Since then, the expression has taken on several variations, including "high mucky-muck" and "high-muckety-muck," and nowadays the "high" is often dispensed with entirely.
More Words of the Day
Visit our archives to see previous selections.
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP