pot·​shot | \ ˈpät-ˌshät How to pronounce potshot (audio) \

Definition of potshot

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a shot taken from ambush or at a random or easy target
2 : a critical remark made in a random or sporadic manner


potshot; potshotting

Definition of potshot (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to take a potshot

transitive verb

: to attack or shoot with a potshot

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Examples of potshot in a Sentence


A sniper was on the roof taking potshots at passing cars.


ended the show with an extended rant in which he potshot an array of personages on the right

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Tension between the two was rumored to be part of why Fukunaga didn’t return for True Detective’s second season — which, under Pizzolatto’s sole vision, featured an abrasive film director character that many observers took to be a potshot. Karen Han, Vox, "True Detective season 3 premieres January 13. Here’s everything we know so far.," 12 Oct. 2018 Daniels enjoys taking potshots at people who insult her on Twitter — and, of course, at the president. Anna North, Vox, "In Stormy Daniels, Trump may have met his match," 18 Oct. 2018 Heindorff, on the other hand, took no such potshots thus far. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Cody Wilson was Defense Distributed—so who is the organization’s new leader?," 6 Oct. 2018 James wasn’t shy with his irritation when LaVar Ball took potshots at him last season. Nancy Armour, USA TODAY, "LaVar Ball's latest bluster shows Los Angeles Lakers need to trade Lonzo Ball," 5 July 2018 Albert Smith — untouched by the soldiers’ potshots — survived to found a modest dynasty of Smiths who have periodically honored his memory with Old Town flag-raisings. Pauline Repard, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Richard Smith joins 172-year family history of Old Town flag-waving," 23 June 2018 On Friday, the Trump administration ramped up tariffs on Chinese products, the latest in a series of U.S. potshots against China’s trade practices. Karen J. Alter, Washington Post, "Trump’s tariffs aren’t the biggest trade problem. Will China step up to protect the WTO?," 18 June 2018 Governments quickly lined up to take potshots at the commission’s proposal. The Economist, "The EU’s budget is being dragged into the 21st century," 5 May 2018 Better off than America’s ailing press freedom, which came into April like a wounded duck, struggling for altitude amid all the stray potshots, and ended the month flat on its back, bill-deep in Washington swampwater and desperately gasping for air. Will Bunch, Philly.com, "Michelle Wolf's truth bombs aren't the only thing America's elite journalists don't get | Will Bunch," 30 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'potshot.' 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 potshot


1843, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1913, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for potshot


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

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Time Traveler for potshot

The first known use of potshot was in 1843

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More Definitions for potshot



English Language Learners Definition of potshot

: a gunshot that is fired in a careless way or at an easy target

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More from Merriam-Webster on potshot

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with potshot

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for potshot

Spanish Central: Translation of potshot

Nglish: Translation of potshot for Spanish Speakers

Comments on potshot

What made you want to look up potshot? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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