hot·​shot ˈhät-ˌshät How to pronounce hotshot (audio)
plural hotshots
: a talented or successful person who often has a showy or flashy manner
There are, of course, people here who believe that most Washington hotshots, journalistic as well as governmental, are fatly overpaid already …Meg Greenfield
… some young hotshots are leaving mutual funds … to set up hedge funds at a rate of more than one a day.Mitchell Pacelle
often used before another noun
a hotshot actor
These days, the only teasing that Leinart gets is from friends who tell him that he doesn't take advantage of being a hotshot college quarterback.Phil Taylor
: a person trained to fight forest fires especially in remote areas
As a hotshot, his job was to rappel from helicopters into wildfires across the country.Anton L. Delgado and Dustin Patar
often used before another noun
[Firefighter Zachary] Resnick said his hotshot crew used to get a break fighting wildfires from late November to late spring. Now, they're on duty nearly year-round.Lilia Luciano
: a fast freight train
First is a hotshot, LADAF, an automobile and trailer train from Los Angeles to Dallas ("F" stands for Forwarder). Its route through Texas is roundabout, so LADAF has to really move, and move it does …Fred W. Frailey

Examples of hotshot in a Sentence

The company has hired a couple of young hotshots to revamp its advertising campaign. That guy thinks he's a real hotshot.
Recent Examples on the Web Set in 1930s Italy, Porco Rosso, the Crimson Pig, is a hotshot pilot caught up in a rivalry with sky pirate Curtis, competing for both aerial supremacy and the love of Gina, a cabaret singer and hotel owner. Matt Kamen, WIRED, 7 Sep. 2023 Gary Sheffield Sheffield debuted with the Brewers as a 19-year-old in 1988, but the hotshot prospect clashed with members of the organization and openly expressed his dissatisfaction and a desire to go elsewhere. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 28 Aug. 2023 Then there was Miranda, the hotshot corporate lawyer who was always there to bring someone like Charlotte back down to earth. Louis Staples, Harper's BAZAAR, 26 July 2023 Gaffigan plays both the fading star of a kids’ TV-science show and the hotshot former astronaut come to replace him. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 6 July 2023 The play follows a family of sisters, two of whom spent most of their life caring for their parents with dementia, and one who returns home after becoming a big movie star with a hotshot boyfriend. Steven Vargas, Los Angeles Times, 28 June 2023 Von Kral also presented each family with multiple portraits of their hotshot to take home with them. Lacey Latch, The Arizona Republic, 28 June 2023 Hanford and its company town were part of the top-secret Manhattan Project, which Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, opening in a few weeks, will examine from the perspective of the nuclear program’s hotshots, its lead scientists and political power players. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 June 2023 The Cornhuskers have tried a number of coaches in the past 25 years: the longtime assistant (Frank Solich), the NFL retread (Bill Callahan), the fiery defensive coordinator (Bo Pelini), the calming grandfather (Mike Riley) and the can't-miss local hotshot (Frost). Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, 8 Nov. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hotshot.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1922, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of hotshot was in 1922

Dictionary Entries Near hotshot

Cite this Entry

“Hotshot.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


hot·​shot ˈhät-ˌshät How to pronounce hotshot (audio)
: a showily skillful person

More from Merriam-Webster on hotshot

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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