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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for broadside

Synonyms: Adverb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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

Adverb The car was hit broadside. one car hit the other broadside and crushed the passenger door Verb His car was broadsided by a truck as he was driving through the intersection.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The buck was walking from right to left, but stopped broadside in the clearing just long enough for a clean shot. Outdoor Life, "After Being Barred from the Family Deer Camp, Beginner’s Luck with a 215-Inch Iowa Buck," 5 Jan. 2021 The unexpected pivot to Section 230 marks another the Republican broadside against a law that Facebook, Google, Twitter and other technology giants see as foundational for the web. Washington Post, "Trump, Republicans seize on new stimulus debate to take aim at an old foe: Big tech," 29 Dec. 2020 Finally, the deer turned broadside 28 yards away, and Cramer let an arrow fly. Scott Bestul, Field & Stream, "The Best Bucks of November 2020," 8 Dec. 2020 After about 40 minutes, the chocolate bear was still slightly quartering-to on his stomach but had rotated almost broadside. Tyler Freel, Outdoor Life, "Hunting Giant Alaska Black Bears with Old-School Recurve Bows and Flintlocks," 22 Dec. 2020 Whereas Falcon 9 boosters fall back to Earth vertically, with their engines down and noses up, Starship is designed to fall broadside through the atmosphere and flip to a vertical posture shortly before landing. Daniel Oberhaus, Wired, "SpaceX Launches—and Crashes—Its Starship Mars Rocket," 9 Dec. 2020 Unfortunately, the broadside opportunity was interrupted by a doe that came crashing through the woods with another buck on her tail, and the double-drop-tine buck joined the pursuit. Scott Bestul, Field & Stream, "The Best Bucks of November 2020," 8 Dec. 2020 This produces a bright radar echo called a broadside flash, which is easy to home in on. Abe Dane, Popular Mechanics, "Remembering the Sea Shadow, America's 'Invisible Warship'," 3 Dec. 2020 Critics, however, have derided the move as wholly unjustified by any kind of data and a capricious broadside against an already reeling industry. Los Angeles Times, "Coronavirus hospitalizations surge to unprecedented level as L.A. announces stay-at-home rules," 2 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The deer was nearly broadside, quartering a half-step to her. Will Brantley, Field & Stream, "10 Lessons from the 2020 Deer Season," 5 Jan. 2021 Rivera was like a captain approaching a storm, battening down the boat while planning to take the waves broadside. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "What Makes the Difference Between Getting Out of Prison and Staying Out?," 9 Nov. 2020 Later, Rinella would instruct me to only take a shot at a deer standing still, and broadside to me. Oliver Staley, Quartz, "MeatEater’s Steven Rinella is helping America rethink its relationship with hunting," 23 Oct. 2020 This is not a widow-maker that constantly threatens to swap ends and broadside the closest telephone pole. Scott Oldham, Car and Driver, "2020 Lamborghini Huracán Evo RWD Trades Traction for Entertainment," 10 Sep. 2020 Given President Trump’s broadsides over the origins of COVID-19, and economic pressures on both nations’ economies, there are significant doubts whether the existing agreement is salvageable. Time, "'This Is a Price We Must Pay.' China Ditches a 2020 Growth Target in a Worrying Sign for the Global Economy," 22 May 2020 Drunken Revelers At stake is whether Tokyo’s citizens heed the warning — and whether the city might end up like New York, another major international metro area that’s been broadsided by the outbreak. Gearoid Reidy,, "Tokyo Braces for Critical Weekend to Contain Virus Outbreak," 10 May 2020 The Iranian economy has taken a beating since the start of the health crisis, crippled by U.S. sanctions and broadsided by plunging oil prices. Zachary Halaschak, Washington Examiner, "Iran arrests thousands for 'spreading rumors about coronavirus' as official death toll questioned," 30 Apr. 2020 Backlash broadsided the league in March after eight teams secured testing for coronavirus at a time of nationwide shortages. Andrew Greif, Los Angeles Times, "The resumption of NBA season might rely on protocols not yet available," 20 Apr. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about broadside

Time Traveler for broadside

Time Traveler

The first known use of broadside was in 1591

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about broadside

Statistics for broadside

Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Broadside.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jan. 2021.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for broadside


How to pronounce broadside (audio)

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.

Keep scrolling for more

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).


Test Your Vocabulary

Words of Snow and Ice Quiz

  • image1037863653
  • Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!