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Troops that are deemed expendable and thus given the most dangerous assignments (in which they are likely to be killed by artillery fire). I refuse to be sent to the front lines as cannon fodder!
slang A device used for the smoking of substances like hashish and marijuana. I've never used a hash cannon before—how does it work?
Someone who has the propensity to act unpredictably or to lose their temper very quickly. You really have to be mindful of what you say to Jake. He's a loose cannon, and the smallest things will send him into a fit of rage. The star quarterback's reputation as a loose cannon hurt his chances of being signed by a new team.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
a person whose actions are unpredictable and uncontrollable. As it turned out, he's not just a loose cannon. He makes sense. Some loose cannon in the State Department has been leaking stories to the press.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
One who is uncontrolled and therefore a serious and unpredictable danger. For example, We can't trust her to talk to the press-she's a loose cannon. This metaphoric expression alludes to cannon mounted on the deck of a sailing ship, which if dislodged during combat or a storm could cause serious damage to both vessel and crew by sliding about. Its figurative use dates from the first half of the 1900s.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
1. You call soldiers in a war cannon fodder when they are considered unimportant and are sent to fight in the most dangerous areas, where they are likely to be killed. The 55- to 65-year-olds were sent to the front as cannon-fodder. If you're a squaddie, you're regarded as cannon fodder.
2. You call people cannon fodder when they are made to do difficult, unpleasant, or dangerous tasks that their bosses do not want to do. The average member of parliament would change parties without hesitation, and is treated by his party leaders as cannon fodder. Note: Fodder is cheap food such as hay or straw that is used to feed animals.
a loose cannon
COMMON If you call someone a loose cannon, you mean that their behaviour is unpredictable and could cause problems. He was also getting a reputation for being a loose cannon; an accident waiting to happen. Thomson can be a loose cannon — he's not easy to control. Note: This expression refers to the cannons which used to be carried on the decks of warships. If one of the cannons was not properly fastened down, it could spin round and make a hole in the ship.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
a loose cannona unpredictable person or thing likely to cause unintentional damage.
A loose cannon was originally a cannon that had broken loose from its fastening or mounting, an accident especially dangerous on wooden ships of war.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
ˈcannon fodderlarge numbers of soldiers who are used in order to win a war, even though most of them are likely to be killed: Their lives were not considered important — they were just the cannon fodder. ♢ (figurative) The team had no intention of being cannon fodder when they played the champions, and were determined to win.
Fodder is food for horses and farm animals.
a ˌloose ˈcannon(disapproving) a person who behaves in a way that you cannot predict, often with serious or damaging results: He has a reputation as a loose cannon whose comments sometimes upset Wall Street.On a ship, a cannon that was not properly tied down was a danger as it could roll around and hurt people or damage the ship.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
n. a gun; a revolver. (Underworld.) Rocko pulled out his cannon and aimed it at Marlowe’s throat.
n. a device used in the smoking of cannabis. (see also shotgun.) Don had a hash cannon in his office as a sample of a device for smoking pot.
n. a loudmouth; a braggart. As it turned out, he’s not just a loose cannon. He makes sense.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
loose cannon, a
A grave and unpredictable hazard. This term comes from the days of sailing ships, when cannon—guns for firing heavy projectiles—were mounted on deck. If during combat or a storm a cannon came loose from its mounting and rolled about the deck, it could severely damage the hull, causing the ship to sink, as well as injure the crew. In the twentieth century the expression began to be used figuratively for a person who behaves unpredictably and is potentially damaging, as in “The president’s secretary was a loose cannon—she couldn’t keep these matters confidential.”
See also: loose
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer