fire a shot across the bow

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fire a shot across the bow

To do something as a warning. The phrase refers to a warning shot from a ship. She fired a shot across the bow, letting her boyfriend know that she would not tolerate his bad attitude.
See also: across, bow, fire, shot
References in periodicals archive ?
His words fired a shot across the bows of a 50-strong group of Tory MPs who are prepared to quit the EU unless he secures far-reaching reforms in negotiations ahead of the referendum.
THREAT Cameron fired a shot across the bows of Tory Eurosceptics
SPORTSMinister RichardCaborn fired a shot across the bows of football clubs yesterday warning that there is increasing pressure for the game to foot the bill for the cost of policing outside as well as inside grounds.