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

Synonyms for broadside

Synonyms: Adverb

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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 of one another. 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Just days after the release of the White House outline, Mr. Manchin held a press conference and launched a fresh broadside at it. Andrew Duehren, WSJ, 22 Dec. 2021 The title track is a rousing seven-and-a-half-minute broadside against neocolonialism in Niger. Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker, 21 Dec. 2021 The bishop’s broadside against Babbo Natale, as Father Christmas is called here, constituted only the latest installment in what has become a new Italian holiday tradition. New York Times, 14 Dec. 2021 A month passed, the temperature dropped below freezing and rose back above, and then another was found near Cold Springs Road, shot broadside. Natalie Schachar, Washington Post, 30 Nov. 2021 Leonidas, radiating out from the spatula-like antenna like the birdshot from a shotgun, has the potential to take out multiple drones with a single broadside. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 1 Nov. 2021 Ann Messner, in a broadside, delineates the history of American free libraries with stories of censorship, segregation, and the FBI’s Library Awareness Program, which tracked what Americans were reading in the 1970s and 1980s., 28 Oct. 2021 When Tesla used MobilEye’s product in early Autopilot beyond spec and a Tesla smashed into the broadside of a truck, killing the driver, MobilEye severed its relationship with Tesla at great cost to themselves. Brad Templeton, Forbes, 15 Nov. 2021 After Manchin's bitter broadside against the party's liberal wing and the plan Biden unveiled, many Democrats are back to worrying about whether the conservative West Virginia senator really wants to pass any of his party's agenda at all. Ronald Brownstein, CNN, 2 Nov. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Winds carried the flame front of the voracious fire eastward, putting it on target to broadside Heavenly Mountain Resort overnight. Jessica Flores, San Francisco Chronicle, 2 Sep. 2021 This makes sense since the odds are that the car running the stop sign is likely to broadside another car that is already in the intersection or the street wherein the stop sign was preventing traffic from immediately flowing. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 7 Apr. 2021 After the troops managed to open a hatch on the top of their vehicle, the rescue vehicle collided with it, sending it broadside into a wave. Andrew Dyer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 25 Mar. 2021 The deer was nearly broadside, quartering a half-step to her. Will Brantley, Field & Stream, 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, 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, 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, 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, 22 May 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.

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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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The first known use of broadside was in 1591

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Dictionary Entries Near broadside



broadside ballad

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Last Updated

11 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Broadside.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2022.

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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 3 of 3)

: with the side facing forward
: directly from the side



English Language Learners Definition of broadside (Entry 4 of 3)

: 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.

More from Merriam-Webster on broadside

Nglish: Translation of broadside for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of broadside for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about broadside


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