Dan from Lake Charlevoix
asked about the word potshot. We tend to use it in a figurative
sense: a verbal attack
or criticism, especially one which is opportunistic and perhaps not deserved.
But it started with
literal meanings based on physical actions. Here are some varieties over the
- a shot fired from a cannon.
- a shot made at an animal or bird with the
aim of killing it purely for food (for the cooking pot), without regard
for the rules and conventions of sport.
- a shot aimed at a person who happens to be
within easy reach.
- a random attempt.
- a speculative or opportunistic shot at goal
by an individual player.
Potshot is related to “cheap
shot” and “shooting fish in a barrel.”
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