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 ?
As well as firing a shot across the bows of Labour and Fine Gael, he was also laying down a marker to his own party.