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

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: Noun But there’s also a deep rabbit hole of older Orson depictions out there, most delivered in playful, potshot fashion. Chris Vognar, Los Angeles Times, "‘Mank’ brings just the latest in a long line of Orson Welles depictions," 6 Jan. 2021 Jon Voight's Christmas card list thanks to an endorsement of Joe Biden that included a potshot at his costar. Clark Collis, EW.com, "Ray Donovan actor hilariously shades Trump-supporting costar Jon Voight in Biden endorsement," 3 Nov. 2020 Koepka’s potshot at Johnson broke every gentleman’s rule in golf. Scott Ostler, SFChronicle.com, "PGA Championship at Harding Park brought out golf’s characters," 9 Aug. 2020 On the flip side is Trevor Bauer, who embraces radical training methods and loves to take verbal potshots at everyone — fellow players and the commissioner included — without regard to the consequences. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "In troubled times, baseball ripe for better marketing," 17 Mar. 2020 Relocating Dürrenmatt’s tragicomic fable from middle Europe to a dying factory town in upstate New York in the mid-1950s has allowed him to take uncharacteristically crude potshots at all-American consumerism. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: A Long Night as Tony Kushner Revisits ‘The Visit’," 13 Feb. 2020 But drained of family drama, Marc’s theory on positive reinforcement seems less a potshot than one more desperate response to an epidemic without cure. S.l. Price, SI.com, "‘I Feel Lost. I Feel Like a Child’: The Complicated Decline of Nick Buoniconti," 9 May 2017 Warren has been steadily gaining on Sanders in polls over the last several months, but the rivals — who describe themselves as friends — have not taken potshots at each other. Los Angeles Times, "A tale of two rallies: Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have similar ideas but competing paths to 2020 victory," 19 Aug. 2019 Kenner travels constantly and obviously relishes giving talks, contributing to widely different magazines such as Art & Antiques and Byte, speaking to NPR, and taking potshots at his archenemy, Joyce biographer Richard Ellmann. Michael Dirda, National Review, "The Exhilarating Letters of Guy Davenport and Hugh Kenner," 25 July 2019

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

Time Traveler

The first known use of potshot was in 1843

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Statistics for potshot

Last Updated

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Potshot.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/potshot. Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on potshot

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for potshot

Nglish: Translation of potshot for Spanish Speakers

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