broad·side | \ -ˌsīd \

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, 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

Known as a broadside, the parchment is printed on one side. James Rogers, Fox News, "Colonial era Michigan fort reveals its secrets," 3 July 2018 Sanford later told the Associated Press that he was confused by Trump’s attack on him, but glad his colleagues showed displeasure at the president’s broadside. Jaclyn Reiss,, "Here’s why Trump is taunting a Republican congressman on Twitter," 20 June 2018 Misleading broadsides against the GDPR are unfortunate because the U.S. could benefit from having a single, comprehensive health privacy law. Joseph Jerome, STAT, "Look to the EU’s new privacy law as a model for replacing the ‘confusing patchwork’ in the U.S.," 18 June 2018 Readers who lived through those years may experience a shock of recognition on returning to Rich’s smoldering broadside and fresh sadness over the costs of change. M.j. Andersen,, "M is for the many things no one tells you about motherhood," 10 May 2018 The suit amounts to another legal broadside related to the 2016 race, on top of the special counsel's ongoing Russia probe and the FBI raid on Trump's personal attorney last week. Fox News, "Trump fires back on Twitter over Democrats' lawsuit," 20 Apr. 2018 In Chicago, the city with the most red-light cameras, the cameras may have lowered the number of T-bone (broadside) collisions by 15 percent, but the number of injury-causing rear-end accidents went up by 22 percent. Dan King, National Review, "Miami Ends Red-Light Camera Program. Other Cities Should Too.," 11 Jan. 2018 Caltrans has been increasingly turning to roundabouts, in place of stop signs, to keep all traffic flowing and to reduce chances of high-speed broadside collisions. Tony Bizjak, sacbee, "This Yolo road's like a country song. It's seen heartache and woe. Now, for some love," 9 July 2018 Biden has landed in hot water himself over the years for his rhetorical broadsides, including some recent ones directed at Trump. Chrissie Thompson,, "Joe Biden in Cincinnati: President Trump's only ideology is 'aggrandizing power'," 29 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 Without saying McCain's name, Trump again broadsided McCain for his dramatic opposition last July to oppose a Republican effort to roll back the Affordable Care Act. Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, azcentral, "John McCain 'doesn't give a rat's ass' what Trump says or thinks of him, co-author says," 30 May 2018 Rain from two systems is expected to broadside Northern California this week, dropping up to seven inches in Grass Valley, five inches in Sonora and three in Chico, Redding, Santa Rosa and Weaverville by Saturday morning. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "This week's storms could drop 100 inches of snow in the Sierra Nevada | The Sacramento Bee," 12 Mar. 2018 The impact pushed his little gray Civic into another lane, where it was broadsided by an SUV, killing our son instantly. Chris Erskine,, "The most awful kind of grief. The most beautiful memories. So long, son," 15 Mar. 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

18 Sep 2018

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

: directly from the side



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

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


broad·side | \ ˈbrȯd-ˌsīd \

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).


to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

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