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top banana

The top banana is the most powerful or important person around. If you are promoted to top banana at work, it means you are the boss.

Besides top banana, there are a lot of other figurative ways to describe the number one person in a group, including top dog, big cheese, and and head honcho. Top banana has the distinction of having started in burlesque theater, though experts disagree about who used the term first. Some performers used bananas in their acts, and others used either top banana or first banana to refer to the headliner, the star of the show.

Definitions of top banana
  1. noun
    the most important person in a group or undertaking
    synonyms: bigwig, kingpin
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    type of:
    important person, influential person, personage
    a person whose actions and opinions strongly influence the course of events
  2. noun
    the leading comedian in a burlesque show
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    type of:
    comedian, comic
    a professional performer who tells jokes and performs comical acts
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