whopper

EnglishEdit

EtymologyEdit

whop +‎ -er

PronunciationEdit

  • IPA(key): /ˈwɒpə(ɹ)/, /ˈʍɒpə(ɹ)/

NounEdit

whopper (plural whoppers)

  1. (informal) Something remarkably large.
    • 1889, Jerome K. Jerome, chapter 17, in Three Men in a Boat[1]:
      I’d gone out pike fishing, bless you, never thinking of a trout, and when I saw that whopper on the end of my line, blest if it didn’t quite take me aback. Well, you see, he weighed twenty-six pound.
    • 1910, O. Henry [pseudonym; William Sydney Porter], “The Poet and the Peasant”, in Strictly Business[2]:
      I’ve just run down from Ulster County to look at the town, bein’ that the hayin’s over with. Gosh! but it’s a whopper. I thought Poughkeepsie was some punkins; but this here town is five times as big.
    • 1939, Noel Langley; Florence Ryerson; Edgar Allan Woolf, The Wizard of Oz:
      There's a storm blowing up, Sylvester—a 'whopper', speaking in the vernacular of the peasantry.
  2. (informal) An outrageous or blatant lie.
    • 1894, Mark Twain, chapter XII, in Tom Sawyer Abroad:
      When he got done telling it there was one of them uncomfortable silences that comes, you know, when a person has been telling a whopper and you feel sorry for him and wish you could think of some way to change the subject and let him down easy, []
    • 1922 February, James Joyce, Ulysses, London: The Egoist Press, published October 1922, OCLC 2297483:
      Coming out with a whopper now. Rhapsodies about damn all. Believes his own lies. Does really. Wonderful liar. But want a good memory.
    • 1997 [1990], David Foster Wallace, “E Unibus Pluram: Television and U.S. Fiction”, in A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments, Boston, Mass.: Little, Brown and Company, →ISBN:
      Isuzu Inc. hit pay dirt in the late '80s with its series of “Joe Isuzu” spots, featuring an oily, Satanic-looking salesman who told whoppers about Isuzu's genuine llama-skin upholstery and ability to run on tapwater.

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