1 of 2


pot·​shot ˈpät-ˌshät How to pronounce potshot (audio)
: a shot taken from ambush or at a random or easy target
: a critical remark made in a random or sporadic manner


2 of 2


potshot; potshotting

intransitive verb

: to take a potshot

transitive verb

: to attack or shoot with a potshot

Examples of potshot in a Sentence

Noun A sniper was on the roof taking potshots at passing cars. Verb ended the show with an extended rant in which he potshot an array of personages on the right
Recent Examples on the Web
There could be potshots in the form of suicidal fast boats or explosive-carrying cardboard drones that could avoid radar detection, Mr. Ullman points out. Anna Mulrine Grobe, The Christian Science Monitor, 18 Oct. 2023 For New York Democrats, what to do about Eric Adams has become a persistent topic: How does a campaign address the fact that one of the area’s most prominent Democrats is taking constant potshots at the president, the national leader of the party, ahead of what will be a razor-thin election? Max Rivlin-Nadler, The New Republic, 27 Oct. 2023 But as Lincoln Riley and USC prepared to share the stage Saturday with Sanders and Colorado, there were no potshots, no sarcastic slights, no bulletin board material of any kind. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 27 Sep. 2023 Could the loss — and their coach’s words — be enough motivation for Colorado players previously powered by potshots? Ryan Kartje, Los Angeles Times, 27 Sep. 2023 The former president has consistently downplayed the importance of primary debates for his campaign given his yawning polling lead, saying appearing on stage would only give candidates with less support the chance to take potshots at him. Tal Axelrod, ABC News, 10 Aug. 2023 Payton wasn’t aiming another potshot at his predecessor, however, just expressing his disdain for players who don the hats on the sideline after their day is done. The Salt Lake Tribune, 8 Aug. 2023 The potshots and the sniping about my role in Wham! — that was water off a duck’s back. Rob Tannenbaum, Los Angeles Times, 29 June 2023 His highbrow potshots at unnamed contemporaries, his pop-cultural references, must have tickled his aristocratic Athenian audience. Nikhil Krishnan, The New Yorker, 26 June 2023 See More

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

Word History



from the notion that such a shot is unsportsmanlike and worthy only of one whose object is to fill the cooking pot

First Known Use


1843, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1913, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of potshot was in 1843

Dictionary Entries Near potshot

Cite this Entry

“Potshot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/potshot. Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a shot taken in a casual manner or at an easy target
: a critical remark made in a random manner

More from Merriam-Webster on potshot

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!