a warning shot across the bows


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a warning shot across the bows

a statement or gesture intended to frighten someone into changing their course of action.
Literally, a shot fired in front of the bows of a ship is one which is not intended to hit it but to make it stop or alter course.
See also: across, bow, shot, warning
References in periodicals archive ?
But there is a warning shot across the bows of any potentially wayward AM.
IRELAND fired a warning shot across the bows of the rest of the Continent ahead of June's European Boxing Championships in Turkey with three gold medal wins at the Feliks Stamm Multi-Nations in Poland yesterday.
This result is a warning shot across the bows of the failing Lib Dem administration at County Hall.
But they fired a warning shot across the bows of the division declaring that they will indeed be a force to be reckoned with at this level.
When Melly got his chance in mid-September it looked like nothing more than a warning shot across the bows of Scotland squad goalie Graeme Smith after a couple of uncharacteristic errors.
On March 24, the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Surveillance Authority sent a warning shot across the bows of the Norwegian Government over its failure to comply with the EU's Telecommunications Services Directive and the ONP Framework Directive.