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

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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

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 And standing broadside 100 yards away was a bull elk. Paul A. Smith, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Smith: This hunter found her 'once-in-a-lifetime' success without even leaving Wisconsin," 2 Nov. 2019 In last month’s first Democratic presidential debate, Sen. Kamala Harris used an unexpected broadside against frontrunner Joe Biden to seize the spotlight among the crowded field and reinvigorate her campaign. Casey Tolan, The Mercury News, "Democratic debate preview: What to watch for as Harris, Biden get rematch," 31 July 2019 Trump has launched impromptu broadsides against U.S. allies, threatened war with North Korea and pressed unconventional ideas regarding military operations, leaving Mattis scrambling to comfort U.S. partners or stop hasty decisions in their infancy. Dan Lamothe, The Seattle Times, "Mattis’ goals teeter as he works to temper Trump," 15 Oct. 2018 The move could also blunt broadsides against Gilead, which has been attacked by patients, doctors and lawmakers since setting the price of its hepatitis C drugs at $1,000 a day or more. Joseph Walker, WSJ, "Gilead to Slice List Prices of Liver Drugs," 24 Sep. 2018 The broadside on display was issued by the Board of Selectmen, Boston’s governing body at the time, on Aug. 5, 1794. Maria Lovato,, "More than 200 years ago, a fire destroyed scores of buildings downtown. Selectmen issued this plea.," 5 Aug. 2019 While some of the broadsides from former Vice President Joe Biden and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii were on-point, not all of their claims stand up to scrutiny. Casey Tolan, The Mercury News, "Democratic debate: Fact-checking the attacks on Kamala Harris’ criminal justice record," 1 Aug. 2019 Nobody would argue against the need for better management and more efficiency, but the broadsides against L.A. Unified skirt complexity and ignore history. Steve Lopez,, "This election was a bigger rout than the Measure EE failure; readers vote 9 to 1 against columnist," 12 June 2019 His broadside followed an uneventful round of talks in Shanghai, where the president heard there were no concrete promises from China to purchase American agricultural products. Sherisse Pham, CNN, "The US-China trade war is back on. That's bad news for Huawei," 2 Aug. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The collision occurred at 3:35 am at the East Vista Way intersection when a Jeep Wrangler, driven by a 36-year-old Temecula man, broadsided the Oceanside man’s Nissan Sentra. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Oceanside man, 64, dies in traffic collision," 2 Sep. 2019 Florida residents picked the shelves clean of bottled water and lined up at gas stations Thursday as an increasingly menacing-looking Hurricane Dorian threatened to broadside the state over Labor Day weekend. Freida Frisaro And Adriana Gomez Licon,, "Hurricane Dorian could grow into a Category 4 storm before hitting Florida over Labor Day weekend," 29 Aug. 2019 His car was broadsided by a 36-year-old Temecula man in a Jeep Wrangler headed east on the highway. Luke Garrett, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Oceanside man killed in North County crash identified," 4 Sep. 2019 Suddenly, the Florida seaside city of 35,000 had become one of the more than 200 state and local governments broadsided by a ransomware attack in recent years. Rachel Siegel, Washington Post, "Ransomware attacks are an expensive threat to city and state governments. They won’t ebb anytime soon.," 20 Aug. 2019 As the months have passed, one by one, Dershowitz’s broadsides against Boies and his allies have cratered. Tom Jackman, Washington Post, "It’s Alan Dershowitz vs. David Boies, again and again," 13 Aug. 2019 In 2005, Zech’s daughter, then 25, was injured when broadsided by a 17-year-old unlicensed D.U.I. driver who was taking a short cut to a La Mesa fast food outlet. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Monica Zech unwillingly took a crash course in driver safety and is paying it forward," 19 Aug. 2019 That was followed by a deadly crash Monday where a man fleeing the California Highway Patrol ended up on Yerba Buena Road and broadsided a minivan, killing the driver. Robert Salonga, The Mercury News, "San Jose: Coroner identifies driver who died after car crash between houses," 12 June 2019 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

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

13 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for broadside

The first known use of broadside was in 1591

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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.

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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).


a calculated move

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