a cheap shot

cheap shot

1. A physical blow struck against someone who is unready or unprepared. If often applies to sports in which physical contact is involved. Duane just sucker-punched Jimbo. What a cheap shot! The boxer took a cheap shot against his opponent before the round started, and the referee halted the match.
2. A mean or unfair criticism. I didn't appreciate that cheap shot you took at me at the party. You made me look foolish in front of our friends.
See also: cheap, shot

a cheap shot

If you describe something critical that someone says as a cheap shot, you mean that it is unfair or unpleasant. It would be a cheap shot, of course, to say anything about his hair. The cartoon is a cheap shot that will draw a guilty chuckle from even the most sensitive reader.
See also: cheap, shot