cheap shot

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cheap shot

1. A physical blow struck against someone who is unready or unprepared. If often applies to sports in which physical contact is involved. Duane just punched Jimbo in the head while his back was turned. What a cheap shot! The boxer took a cheap shot against his opponent before the round started, and the referee halted the match.
2. By extension, a mean or unfair criticism. I didn't appreciate that cheap shot you took at me at the party. You made me look foolish in front of our friends.
See also: cheap, shot
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

cheap shot

An unfair or unsporting verbal attack, as in You called him an amateur? That's really taking a cheap shot. The term originated in sports, especially American football, where it signifies deliberate roughness against an unprepared opponent. [Slang; second half of 1900s]
See also: cheap, shot
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.

a cheap shot

If you describe something critical that someone says as a cheap shot, you mean that it is unfair or unpleasant. It would be a cheap shot, of course, to say anything about his hair. The cartoon is a cheap shot that will draw a guilty chuckle from even the most sensitive reader.
See also: cheap, shot
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

cheap shot

n. a remark that takes advantage of someone else’s vulnerability. It’s easy to get a laugh with a cheap shot at cats.
See also: cheap, shot
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
His cheap shots at Prince Charles and the Queen Mother were pathetic, unwarranted and unpleasant.
Compton accused game officials of letting Magnolia players get away with cheap shots in Game 4 including Barroca's hit on Banchero.
Cheap shots at 'Brussels Kremlin' BRIAN Christley's latest missive, where he states that it would have been easier for the UK to leave the Soviet Bloc than it is to leave the EU, is typical, but is even more outrageous than usual.
It has become permissible -- even encouraged -- to take cheap shots, reduce complex problems to memes and turn human beings into caricatures.
At the press conference touting NH's loooong-shot bid for Amazon's HQ2, Guv Sununu--when he wasn't taking cheap shots at Boston in particular and Mass.
This will not change the real issues of cheap shots in clubs or legal highs which are the main cause of hospital admissions.
I've still got an international forward not playing because of some of the cheap shots they did that night."
But he has also rounded on his opponents for their aggressive approach to the contest, claiming they were guilty of a host of "cheap shots".
However, I think a rule change concerning cheap shots and illegal hits could help corral some of the rogue players.
SORRY, but taking cheap shots like "contributes little to the team effort" is both inaccurate and damaging to a player (Papiss Cisse) struggling to re-find his form.
The high-profile attorney also hit out at "cheap shots" aimed at discrediting his client's reputation.
Rovers boss Michael Appleton was unhappy with Millwall's tactics, saying: "There were a lot of tackles flying around and a couple of cheap shots going on which is disappointing."
MILLWALL 0 BLACKBURN 0 BLACKBURN boss Michael Appleton accused Millwall of taking "cheap shots" at his players after they emerged battered and bruised from yesterday's FA Cup quarter-final.
0 BLACKBURN manager Michael Appleton accused Millwall of taking "cheap shots" at his players after they emerged battered and bruised from yesterday afternoon's goalless FA Cup quarter-final at The Den.
Summary: Blackburn manager Michael Appleton accused Millwall of taking "cheap shots" at his players after a ...