I happened to see this sentence in a subtitle of a movie, it said: "To think that you used an old man and a newbie as a decoy, you've sure got some big ones, don't you?". When i try to search the meaning of the phrase "big one", it just gives me something like: "a thousand dollars" or "an extremely large and destructive earthquake",... and i think they aren't suitable for the content in the sentence. What is the exactly meaning of the phrase "got some big ones" in this sentence?

  • 4
    Balls. Daring. A lot of nerve. Commented May 3, 2020 at 15:49
  • 1
    ...and they clang when he walks. Commented May 3, 2020 at 16:01
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    There's more than just bottle involved here. There's audacity. They're not just risking their own neck. They're acting wrongly. In a cavalier way. Commented May 3, 2020 at 16:18

1 Answer 1


Big ones (balls) refers metaphorically to courage, force.

Ball (slang)

a. Usually in plural. A testicle.

b**.** plural (frequently as a mass nou*n). *fig. and in extended use.

(b) orig. U.S. Virility, (manly) power or strength; substance, force, vigour. Also: courage, determination. Cf. ballsy adj.

  • a1903 W. A. Henley in C. Harman R. L. Stevenson (2005) iv. 17 All eloquence and balls and brains; Heroic and also infantile.1928 D. H. Lawrence Lady Chatterley's Lover xiv. 236 You say a man's got no brain, when he's a fool... And when he's got none of that spunky wild bit of a man in him, you say he's got no balls. When he's sort of tame.1958 in H. Wentworth & S. B. Flexner Dict. Amer. Slang (1960) 17/1 (oral quot.) That copy is too weak. Rewrite it and put ballson it!1979 Tucson (Arizona) Mag. Jan. 29/3 I told him I just can't do it that way... I suppose it took balls, but it is no more balls than anyone should have for themselves.1984 M. Amis Money 315 Just keeping a handhold and staying where you are,..even that takes tons of balls.2006 Sunday Territorian (Austral.) (Nexis) 17 Dec. 38 Making a decision like that..takes a lot of balls.

Reddit.com (citing the OED)

  • So big ones phrase is short for "Big ones balls" , thank you for very useful answer. is this phrase used often in speaking ? or it's just used in movie ?
    – user383745
    Commented May 4, 2020 at 14:12
  • @user383745 - it is a slang, actually vulgar way to express the concept.
    – user 66974
    Commented May 4, 2020 at 14:35
  • 1
    @user383745: it would be big balls or big ovaries, not big ones balls, ones is a substitute.
    – jmoreno
    Commented Apr 1, 2021 at 11:12

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