a shot across the bow

a shot across the bow

a warning to stop doing something The lawsuit is a shot across the bow to businesses that are competing unfairly.
Etymology: based on the military practice of aiming a shot across the bow ( a small explosion in front of a ship) to force it to stop
See also: across, bow, shot
References in periodicals archive ?
Super Size Me'' may have its share of empty calories, but, taken as a shot across the bow of corporate America, it's got bite.
A shot across the bows of the vacuous in Britain who believe none of us must be held responsible for idiotic camera-courting and inane tweeting.