broad·​side | \ ˈbrȯd-ˌsīd How to pronounce broadside (audio) \

Definition of broadside

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a(1) : a sizable sheet of paper printed on one side
(2) : a sheet printed on one or both sides and folded
b : something (such as a ballad) printed on a broadside
2 archaic : the side of a ship above the waterline
3a : all the guns on one side of a ship also : their simultaneous discharge
b : a volley of abuse or denunciation
4 : a broad or unbroken surface



Definition of broadside (Entry 2 of 4)

: directed or placed broadside a broadside attack



Definition of broadside (Entry 3 of 4)

1a : with the side forward or toward a given point : sideways turned broadside
b : directly from the side the car was hit broadside
2 : in one volley
3 : at random


broadsided; broadsiding; broadsides

Definition of broadside (Entry 4 of 4)

transitive verb

: to hit broadside the car was broadsided

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Synonyms for broadside

Synonyms: Adverb

crabwise, edgeways [chiefly British], edgewise, sideways, sidewise

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Did You Know?


What do sheets of printed paper and a ship's artillery have in common? Not a whole lot besides their broadsides. The printing and naval senses of broadside arose independently in the 16th century. Printed broadsides may have first been decrees intended for public posting, so they were necessarily printed on one side of large sheets of paper. Soon even matters printed on one side of smallish sheets were called broadsides - advertisements, for example, or the so-called "broadside ballads," popular ditties that people stuck on the wall to sing from. In the nautical sense, broadside was originally the entire side of a ship above the water - which is where the guns were placed. The further use of broadside to refer to firing of the guns eventually led to the figurative "volley of abuse" sense.

Examples of broadside in a Sentence


The car was hit broadside. one car hit the other broadside and crushed the passenger door


His car was broadsided by a truck as he was driving through the intersection.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And that imperative will only get more important as the first debates loom later this month, so look for more broadsides to come. Casey Tolan, The Mercury News, "California 2020 Countdown: Is getting booed a good campaign strategy? It worked for Dianne Feinstein," 6 June 2019 Their message: Hang in there despite Mr. Trump’s broadsides, according to senators and aides. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Florida just got a lot hotter," 29 Aug. 2018 German officials from Chancellor Angela Merkel down have also expressed frustration at the U.S. president's broadsides against Berlin over trade, immigration and defense spending. Fox News, "Germany seeks to woo Americans amid rocky Trump relationship," 3 Oct. 2018 The 47-member council, based in Geneva and created in 2006, began its latest session on Monday with a broadside against President Donald Trump’s immigration policy by the UN’s high commissioner for human rights. Fortune, "Trump Is Said to Be Planning U.S. Withdrawal From UN's Human Rights Council," 19 June 2018 Now comes a presidential broadside against Britain's National Health Service – and Britons, by and large, are having none of it. Laura King,, "Trump stirs a hornet's nest in Britain by blasting its National Health Service," 5 Feb. 2018 Imagine if the state launched a broadside against the New York City public-school system because many of its students are failing. Elya Brudny And Yisroel Reisman, WSJ, "New York State Targets Jewish Schools," 13 Dec. 2018 In late November, The Washington Post came out with an emphatic anti-Furby broadside: What is a Furby? Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Furby hell: this week in tech, 20 years ago," 24 Nov. 2018 President Donald Trump cast blame on the media for fomenting anger in society, while candidates across the country traded partisan broadsides. Jonathan Lemire, The Seattle Times, "A short-lived call for unity shelved for political barbs," 26 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Theoretically, the new operational domain means Super Cruise will work on the kinds of limited-access highways that have now seen two Tesla drivers killed when their cars broadsided tractor trailers at high speed. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Cadillac adds 70,000 miles of new roads to Super Cruise driver assist," 5 June 2019 Many of them exited high school into a world short on middle-skill job opportunities, only to be broadsided by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. Jeanna Smialek, The Seattle Times, "Millennial men leave perplexing hole in hot US job market," 20 Nov. 2018 The cause of the limp, a long-ago car accident that had killed his wife, he and she having been broadsided by a drunk driver, was no longer ever mentioned. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Read an excerpt from Kim Stanley Robinson’s next book," 18 Oct. 2018 President Trump’s broadsides against NATO have rattled a military alliance that has existed for 69 years and that has helped to define the global order since shortly after World War II. John Fritze, USA TODAY, "What is NATO and why is Donald Trump slamming it?," 12 July 2018 On the way to their first big gig, the Plaids are broadsided and killed instantly by a school bus of Catholic school girls on the way to see the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan Show. Emily Sorensen, Pomerado News, "Welk Theatre's 'Forever Plaid' opens Saturday," 11 July 2018 While en route, a deputy traveling south on North Santa Fe Avenue with his emergency lights and siren on was broadsided by a 2000 Toyota Rav4 traveling east on Vista Village Drive at the intersection of the two streets. Gary Warth,, "Sheriff's patrol car broadsided by vehicle while enroute to accident," 5 July 2018 That’s why Trump broadsides at the alliance as a whole, even if not specifically directed at the Poles, cause a distinct undercurrent of nervousness. Laura King,, "Poland sees opportunity and peril in NATO summit and Trump-Putin meeting," 9 July 2018 The gathering ended with President Donald Trump broadsiding allies via Twitter, undermining the bloc and potentially causing fresh friction over trade. Fortune, "Watch Out: This Could Be the World Economy's Most Important Week of 2018," 11 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'broadside.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of broadside


1591, in the meaning defined at sense 2


1646, in the meaning defined above


1786, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1981, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for broadside

Last Updated

12 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for broadside

The first known use of broadside was in 1591

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More Definitions for broadside



English Language Learners Definition of broadside

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: a very strong and harsh spoken or written attack
: an attack by a ship in which all the guns on one side of the ship are fired together



English Language Learners Definition of broadside (Entry 2 of 3)

: with the side facing forward
chiefly US : directly from the side



English Language Learners Definition of broadside (Entry 3 of 3)

US : to hit (a vehicle) very hard from the side


broad·​side | \ ˈbrȯd-ˌsīd How to pronounce broadside (audio) \

Kids Definition of broadside

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a firing of all of the guns that are on the same side of a ship



Kids Definition of broadside (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : with one side forward turned broadside
2 : from the side I hit the other car broadside.

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Comments on broadside

What made you want to look up broadside? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


behavior toward others

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