Mark asked why we use the word shot in the phrase a shot and a beer. Shot comes from an Old English word—sceot—that described a darting, rapid
motion. When most Americans drink from a shot glass, they do not sip
delicately; they throw the contents back quickly, swallowing in one go.
Shot is an interesting word because it has so many meanings.
the discharge of a weapon (the shot heard ‘round the world)
an attempt in sports to score (the shot was wide of the net)
a picture opportunity for a camera (a great shot of the sunset)
a hypodermic injection (get
your flu shot)
an attempt to do something (give it a shot)
an uninformed guess (shot
in the dark)
an important person (big
an unfairly critical remark (cheap shot)
metal pellets in a cartridge (bird shot)
an attempt to reach a distant target via rocket (a moon shot)
a boost to one’s spirits (a shot in the arm)
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