shot across the bow

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shot across the bow

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, 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.