shot across the bow(s)

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shot across the bow(s)

A warning. It refers to a warning shot from a ship, and can take the form of words or actions. Her sharp retort was a shot across the bow, letting her boyfriend know that she would not tolerate his bad attitude.
See also: across, shot

a shot across the bows

or

a warning shot across the bows

FORMAL
COMMON A shot across the bows or a warning shot across the bows is something that someone does or says to show someone else that they are prepared to fight or compete with them, often if they continue to do what they are doing. `Bows' is pronounced with the same vowel sound as the word `how'. As a warning shot across the bows of their rivals, the company is already setting very low prices. This vote is a protest, a shot across the bows to the leadership, to show them that we're here. Note: You can also use the shorter expression a warning shot. The protest should act as a warning shot to the government. Note: People often use the verb fire before these expressions, and, less often, verbs such as deliver and send. Britain's agriculture minister departed from his prepared speech to fire a shot across Norway's bows. The electorate has sent a warning shot which our politicians must now take notice of. Note: The bows are the front part of a ship.
See also: across, bow, shot

(fire) a (warning) shot across somebody’s ˈbows

do something to warn an enemy, a competitor, etc. that you will take further action against them if necessary: The President’s speech on Friday was a shot across the bows of the banks. If they don’t change their policies, he will change the law.This expression refers to encounters between ships of hostile nations. One ship might fire a shot at another, not in order to hit it, but to warn it to move.
See also: across, bow, shot
References in periodicals archive ?
Microsoft's timing should concern Google as this is clearly a shot across the bow to own the personal assistant space on Android.
It sold like a Beatles record, and it was the first shot across the bow that the record industry was changing and America could produce a band to compete with the British bands.
Ackerman describes his proposal, House Bill 2957, as "a shot across the bow to express my dissatisfaction with the confiscatory tuition and fee increases.
Announcing the extension of the offer, Oracle spokesperson Jim Finn took a shot across the bow of PeopleSoft, which had upgraded its public earnings expectations earlier yesterday.
Responding to the hearing was David Seckman, director and CEO, NNFA, Newport Beach, CA, who s aid, "The significance of this hearing remains to be seen, but it definitely constitutes a shot across the bow in our efforts to protect DSHEA.
I think that our statement of Christian outreach, which will include critical issues such as the importance of not trying to convert the Jews, will be a shot across the bow of many Christian denominations.
McCain's success is a shot across the bow to religious conservatives," says Amy Walter, an editor of the Cook Political Report, an insider's guide to American politics.
Hatch in his own words says that the letter "tired a shot across the bow to those who might think we were equivocating.
Haley, lead counsel for the plaintiff's firm Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton, said, "The ruling in this historic case is a shot across the bow for those who engage in corporate greed and fraud in our country.
SHOT ACROSS THE BOW Nelson's memo aimed at fraudsters
The attempted purchase of Unocal is just the first shot across the bow of our ship of state.
This wasn't so much a take-it-or-leave-it proposition as a shot across the bow.
However, as the Deseret Morning News pointed out on February 11, "Utah's shot across the bow at the No Child Left Behind Act went from that of a rifle to a pop gun" when the house passed a substitute measure preventing school districts from participating in NCLB "except where there is adequate federal funding.
I can tell you, my ears are still ringing from the very loud warning that was shot across the bow of conservative leaders in Washington by grassroots activists," says Tale, who dismisses pundits' claims that the conservative reign in the nation's capital is over.