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 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 Mulvaney began his tenure with an open display of cocksure philistinism, taking potshots at Warren at a conference of appreciative credit union executives. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Why is Trump’s consumer protection agency helping to promote H&R Block’s credit card?," 18 July 2019 The tone throughout is fun to read, especially when the book takes potshots at gentrification, prison food and Sammy Sosa. SFChronicle.com, "Our favorite cookbooks of 2019, so far," 21 June 2019 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

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

5 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Potshot.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/potshot. Accessed 17 January 2020.

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More Definitions for potshot


How to pronounce potshot (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for potshot

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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).


a plan in which a last survivor takes all

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