a shot across the/someone's bow(s)

idiom

Definition of a shot across the/someone's bow(s)

: a warning to not do something or to stop doing something
  • The fine is a shot across the bow to an industry that thinks it can ignore the law.

Word by Word Definitions

shot play
  1. : an action of shooting

  2. : a directed propelling of a missile

  3. : a stroke or throw in an attempt to score points in a game (such as tennis, pool, or basketball)

  1. : past tense and past participle of shoot

  1. : having contrasting and changeable color effects : iridescent

  2. : suffused or streaked with a color

  3. : infused or permeated with a quality or element

across play
  1. : from one side to the opposite side of : over, through

  2. : on the opposite side of

  3. : so as to intersect or pass through at an angle

  1. : in a position reaching from one side to the other : crosswise

  2. : to or on the opposite side

  3. : so as to be understandable, acceptable, or successful

  1. : being in a crossed position

someone play
  1. : some person : somebody

bow play
  1. : to cease from competition or resistance : submit, yield

  2. : to bend the head, body, or knee in reverence, submission, or shame

  3. : to incline the head or body in salutation or assent or to acknowledge applause

  1. : a bending of the head or body in respect, submission, assent, or salutation

  1. : something bent into a simple curve or arc

  2. : rainbow

  3. : a weapon that is used to propel an arrow and that is made of a strip of flexible material (such as wood) with a cord connecting the two ends and holding the strip bent

  1. : to bend into a curve

  2. : to play a stringed instrument with a bow (see 3bow 5a)

  3. : to cause to bend into a curve

  1. : the forward part of a ship

  2. : bowman:2

  1. : the 19th letter of the English alphabet

  2. : a graphic representation of this letter

  3. : a speech counterpart of orthographic s

  1. sulfur

  1. — compare 1-es

  1. used to form adverbs denoting usual or repeated action or state

  1. — compare 2-es


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