pot·shot | \ˈpät-ˌshät \

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

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 The personal potshots in particular have surprised some former colleagues who thought of Mr. Comey as relatively sober and serious. Julie Hirschfeld Davis And Jonathan Martin, New York Times, "James Comey’s Attacks on Trump May Hurt a Carefully Cultivated Image," 16 Apr. 2018 Plenty of popcorn-grabbing moments over the past few days as our tech overlords took potshots at each other. Lara O’reilly, WSJ, "CMO Today: Zuckerberg and Cook Sound Off; Google Changes Reporting Metric; Fox News Responds to ‘Ingraham’ Ad Boycott," 3 Apr. 2018 Trump had been taking potshots at McCabe for months. Renée Graham, BostonGlobe.com, "Trump’s bullying is getting more desperate," 21 Mar. 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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Statistics for potshot

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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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Comments on potshot

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a generally accepted meaning of a word

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