potshot

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pot shot

1. Literally, a shot fired easily or recklessly. The phrase comes from hunting (in which shots ideally yield food for one's pot). You boys can't just take pot shots at any creature you see—there are rules we have to follow out here! Why did you fire a pot shot like that and betray our position to the enemy?
2. By extension, a reckless or careless remark directed at a vulnerable person. Now that everyone knows I was involved in that scandal, the reporters love taking pot shots at me.
See also: pot, shot

take a potshot at someone or something

 
1. Lit. to shoot at someone or something, as with a shotgun. (A potshot refers to the type of shooting done to provide meat for the cooking pot.) The hunters were taking potshots at each other in the woods. Someone has been taking potshots at my mailbox!
2. Fig. to criticize or censure someone or something, often just to be mean. Why are you taking potshots at me? What did I do to you? Everyone in the audience was taking potshots at the comedian's toupee.
See also: potshot, take

potshot

n. a sharp criticism; a wild shot of criticism. (Usually with take.) Please stop taking potshots at me!
References in periodicals archive ?
Mr Jackson denied telling anybody to kick the Iraqis or taking the potshots.
McLeod upheld his paper's "right" to take potshots at religion by declaring that "there are as many hypocrites in organized religion today as there were when Jesus walked the earth"--thereby slandering not only millions of living believers, but countless devout Jews who are 2000 years dead and helpless to defend themselves.
Not entirely original, the format borrows from another cable-TV show, Comedy Central's Mystery Science Theater 3000, in which a man and his robots watch subliterate sic-fi and gladiator flicks and take potshots at straw men from beyond the galaxy.
Such potshots raise the wrong questions, at least to the open-minded viewer.
THE political battle for Bihar reached its peak with both Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Bharatiya Janata Party taking potshots at each other.
The fitness expert would bend over on a training ground goal-line, wearing his marathon costume - a 'monkey thong', complete with tail - while the first team squad took potshots at his bottom from 18 yards.
But, like his former co-star, he also takes a few completely unrepeatable potshots at religion as well as rounding on Maxine Carr, the BNP and Steve Martin.
During the first part of the war, pilots were mostly used for reconnaissance, taking occasional potshots at each other and dropping hand bombs.
Mr Jackson denied telling anybody to kick the Iraqis or taking potshots at Iraqi thieves hiding in sand dunes outside the camp.
It was only later that cheeky Pierce showed what he really thought of them, by taking sneaky potshots from behind a bed of begonias on his balcony.
Taking potshots at Signs, The Ring, The Matrix Reloaded and others, this is a vast improvement on the first sequel, and provides plenty of laughs - so long as you've seen the movies it's sending up.
Along the way, theCoens,in the spirit of Capra and Sturges, take potshots at the rich and shallow denizens of Beverly Hills.
The plot doesn't hold up to scrutiny, but as a satire, it doesn't have to, as it takes potshots at Hollywood, celebrity, wealth and love.
The Hoover Institution's Bill Whalen, who took potshots at Kerry in National Review Online, spends only $14 in a Stanford, Calif.