- a smoothbore gun for firing small shots to kill birds and small quadrupeds, though often used with buckshot to kill larger animals.
- Football. an offensive formation, designed primarily for passing situations, in which the backfield is spread out with the quarterback positioned a few yards behind the center and the other backs, as potential pass receivers, positioned as slotbacks or flankers.
- of, pertaining to, used in, or carried out with a shotgun: a shotgun murder; shotgun pellets.
- covering a wide area in an irregularly effective manner without concern for details or particulars; tending to be all-inclusive, nonselective, and haphazard; indiscriminate in choice and indifferent to specific results: He favored the shotgun approach in his political attacks.
- seeking a desired result through the use or inclusion of a wide variety of elements.
- having all the rooms opening one into the next in a line from front to back: shotgun apartment; shotgun cottage.
- gained or characterized by coercive methods.
verb (used with object), shot·gunned, shot·gun·ning.
- to fire a shotgun at.
- ride shotgun,
- (formerly) to ride atop a stagecoach as a shotgun-bearing guard.
- to protect or keep a watchful eye on something: riding shotgun over the nation’s economy.
- a shoulder firearm with unrifled bore designed for the discharge of small shot at short range and used mainly for hunting small game
- (as modifier)shotgun fire
- American football an offensive formation in which the quarterback lines up for a snap unusually far behind the line of scrimmage
- mainly US involving coercion or duressa shotgun merger
- mainly US involving or relying on speculative suggestions, etca shotgun therapy
verb -guns, -gunning or -gunned
- (tr) US to shoot or threaten with or as if with a shotgun
1821, American English, from shot (n.) in the sense of “lead in small pellets” (1770) + gun (n.). As distinguished from a rifle, which fires bullets. Shotgun wedding first attested 1903, American English.
In addition to the idiom beginning with shotgun
, also see
- ride shotgun