like a shot

like a shot

noun, plural shots or for 6, 8, shot.

  1. a discharge of a firearm, bow, etc.
  2. the range of or the distance traveled by a missile in its flight.
  3. an aimed discharge of a missile.
  4. an attempt to hit a target with a missile.
  5. an act or instance of shooting a firearm, bow, etc.
  6. a small ball or pellet of lead, a number of which are loaded in a cartridge and used for one charge of a shotgun.
  7. such pellets collectively: a charge of shot.
  8. a projectile for discharge from a firearm or cannon.
  9. such projectiles collectively: shot and shell.
  10. a person who shoots; marksman: He was a good shot.
  11. Slang. a blow; punch: The prizefighter was knocked out by a shot in the chin.
  12. anything like a shot, especially in being sudden and forceful.
  13. a heavy metal ball that competitors cast as far as possible in shot-putting contests.
  14. an aimed stroke, throw, or the like, as in certain games, especially in an attempt to score.
  15. an attempt or try: He’s entitled to a shot at the championship.
  16. a remark aimed at some person or thing.
  17. a guess at something.
  18. a hypodermic injection, as of a serum, vaccine, narcotic, or anaesthetic: He took a series of immunizing shots for hay fever.
  19. a small quantity, especially an ounce, of undiluted liquor.
  20. an amount due, especially at a tavern.
  21. Photography.
    1. a photograph, especially a snapshot: Here’s a nice shot of my kids.
    2. the act of making a photograph, especially a snapshot.
  22. Movies, Television. a unit of action photographed without interruption and constituting a single camera view.
  23. an explosive charge in place for detonation, as in mining or quarrying.
  24. Metallurgy. comparatively hard globules of metal in the body of a casting.
  25. Nautical. a 90-foot (27-meter) length of anchor cable or chain.
  26. Checkers. a compulsory series of exchanges, especially when it proves favorable to the aggressor.
  27. Textiles.
    1. a pick sent through the shed in a single throw of the shuttle.
    2. (in carpet weaving) filling yarn used to bind the pile to the fabric, usually expressed with a preceding number representing the quantity of picks used: three-shot carpet.
    3. a defect in a fabric caused by an unusual color or size in the yarn.
  28. a chance with odds for and against; a bet: a 20 to 1 shot that his horse will come in first.

verb (used with object), shot·ted, shot·ting.

  1. to load or supply with shot.
  2. to weight with shot.

verb (used without object), shot·ted, shot·ting.

  1. to manufacture shot, as in a shot tower.


  1. by a long shot. long shot(def 4).
  2. call one’s shots, Informal. to indicate beforehand what one intends to do and how one intends to do it.
  3. call the shots, Informal. to have the power or authority to make decisions or control policy: Now that he’s chairman of the board, he calls the shots.
  4. have/take a shot at, make an attempt at: I’ll have a shot at solving the problem.
  5. like a shot, instantly; quickly: He bolted out of here like a shot.
  6. shot in the arm, Informal. something that results in renewed vigor, confidence, etc.; stimulus: Her recent promotion has given her a shot in the arm. The new members gave the club a shot in the arm.
  7. shot in the dark, Informal. a wild guess; a random conjecture.


  1. the act or an instance of discharging a projectile
  2. plural shot a solid missile, such as an iron ball or a lead pellet, discharged from a firearm
    1. small round pellets of lead collectively, as used in cartridges
    2. metal in the form of coarse powder or small pellets
  3. the distance that a discharged projectile travels or is capable of travelling
  4. a person who shoots, esp with regard to his abilityhe is a good shot
  5. informal an attempt; effort
  6. informal a guess or conjecture
  7. any act of throwing or hitting something, as in certain sports
  8. the launching of a rocket, missile, etc, esp to a specified destinationa moon shot
    1. a single photographI took 16 shots of the wedding
    2. a series of frames on cine film concerned with a single event
    3. a length of film taken by a single camera without breaks, used with others to build up a full motion picture or television film
  9. informal an injection, as of a vaccine or narcotic drug
  10. informal a glass of alcoholic drink, esp spirits
  11. sport a heavy metal ball used in the shot put
  12. an explosive charge used in blasting
  13. globules of metal occurring in the body of a casting that are harder than the rest of the casting
  14. a unit of chain length equal to 75 feet (Brit) or 90 feet (US)
  15. call the shots slang to have control over an organization, course of action, etc
  16. have a shot at informal
    1. to attempt
    2. Australianto jibe at or vex
  17. like a shot very quickly, esp willingly
  18. shot in the arm informal anything that regenerates, increases confidence or efficiency, etchis arrival was a shot in the arm for the company
  19. shot in the dark a wild guess
  20. that’s the shot Australian informal that is the right thing to do

verb shots, shotting or shotted

  1. (tr) to weight or load with shot


  1. the past tense and past participle of shoot


  1. (of textiles) woven to give a changing colour effectshot silk
  2. streaked with colour
  3. slang exhausted
  4. get shot of or get shut of slang to get rid of

n.Old English scot, sceot “a shot, a shooting, an act of shooting; that which is discharged in shooting, what is shot forth; darting, rapid motion,” from Proto-Germanic *skutan (cf. Old Norse skutr, Old Frisian skete, Middle Dutch scote, German Schuß “a shot”), related to sceotan “to shoot” (see shoot (v.)). Meaning “discharge of a bow, missile,” also is from related Old English gesceot. Extended to other projectiles in Middle English, and to sports (hockey, basketball, etc.) 1868. Another original meaning, “payment” (perhaps literally “money thrown down”) is preserved in scot-free. “Throwing down” might also have led to the meaning “a drink,” first attested 1670s, the more precise meaning “small drink of straight liquor” by 1928 (shot glass by 1955). Camera view sense is from 1958. Sense of “hypodermic injection” first attested 1904; figurative phrase shot in the arm “stimulant” first recorded 1922. Meaning “try, attempt” is from 1756; sense of “remark meant to wound” is recorded from 1841. Meaning “an expert in shooting” is from 1780. To call the shots “control events, make decisions” is American English, 1922, perhaps from sport shooting. Shot in the dark “uninformed guess” is from 1885. Big shot “important person” is from 1861. adj.early 15c., past participle adjective from from shoot (v.). Meaning “wounded or killed by a bullet or other projectile” is from 1837. Figurative sense “ruined, worn out” is from 1833. n.

  1. A hypodermic injection.
  2. A small amount given or applied at one time.

Very rapidly, as in When they asked for volunteers, he raised his hand like a shot. This expression alludes to the rapidity of gunfire. [Colloquial; late 1800s] In addition to the idioms beginning with shot

  • shot in the arm, a
  • shot in the dark
  • shot to hell
  • shot up
  • also see:

  • big cheese (shot)
  • call the shots
  • cheap shot
  • give it one’s best shot
  • have a crack (shot) at
  • like a shot
  • long shot
  • parting shot
  • Also see undershoot.

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