long shot

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long shot

1. A bet that has a low probability of winning. That horse is a long shot, but the bet will pay well if he wins the race.
2. Something that has a very small chance of succeeding. I know it's a long shot because of his busy schedule, but maybe I can convince him to help me with this project. Her candidacy was a long shot from the beginning, and her landslide defeat was no surprise.
See also: long, shot
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

*long shot

Fig. a risky bet; an attempt, bet, or proposition that has a low probability of success. (*Typically: be ~; seem like ~.) Your solution is a long shot, but we'll try it and hope it works.
See also: long, shot
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

long shot, a

A remote possibility of success, as in It's a long shot that Joan will actually finish the marathon, or He may be a good programmer, but he's a long shot for that job. This expression alludes to the inaccuracy of early firearms, which when shot over a distance rarely hit the target. It is commonly used in horseracing for a bet made at great odds. A related phrase is not by a long shot, meaning "not even remotely," as in I'll never make it to California in three days, not by a long shot. [Late 1800s]
See also: long
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 long shot

COMMON
1. If you describe a way of solving a problem as a long shot, you mean that there is little chance that it will succeed, but you think it is worth trying. You could try to find her. It's a long shot but you could start with the phone book.
2. You can also say that something is a long shot when it is very unlikely to happen. It seemed such a long shot, me walking over the hills, and seeing you at the end of it. Compare with by a long shot. Note: The reference here is to someone shooting at a target from a very long distance.
See also: long, shot
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

a ˈlong shot

(informal) an attempt or a guess which you do not expect to be successful but which is worth trying: Try ringing him at home. It’s a long shot, I know, but he might just be there.‘Are you going to apply for the manager’s job?’ ‘I don’t know. It’s a bit of a long shot, isn’t it?’A long shot is a shot fired from a long distance and so unlikely to hit its target.
See also: long, shot
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

long shot

n. a wild guess; an attempt at something that has little chance of succeeding. You shouldn’t expect a long shot to pay off.
See also: long, shot
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

long shot, (not by) a

(Not) a remote chance. Early firearms were notoriously inaccurate, and a shot from a distance rarely hit the target. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries a long shot meant just that, a shot fired from afar. By the late nineteenth century the term had been transferred to other improbable circumstances, such as a wild guess or, more specifically, a bet against considerable odds. From about 1865, however, it also meant far-fetched, as in this OED citation from Young Gentleman’s Magazine (1873): “This did not, however, suit her long-shot tactics.”
See also: long
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in classic literature ?
The war with Spain, many years' generous mint and watermelon crops, a few long-shot winners at the New Orleans race-track, and the brilliant banquets given by the Indiana and Kansas citizens who compose the North Carolina Society have made the South rather a "fad" in Manhattan.
Asma Aghbaria-Zahalka, Leader Of Dm Jewish-Arab Party, Makes Long-Shot Election Bid In Israel It is a long shot but this Arab Israeli woman may be voted in because she is filling rooms and minds with her message that challenges all extremes.
The USPGA, which starts today at t Kiawah Island, is usually won by a long-shot and this time will be won by a long-hitter because, at 7,676 yards, the course is the longest in Major history.
Long-shots like him are giving golf betting a bad name and that's normally my job.
As the races continued, the priest kept blessing long-shot horses, and each one ended up coming in first.
It's a long-shot idea that doesn't pay off, as the producers drop Katina and Volkova into a series of no-win situations.
Former Senator Bill Bradley has pinned his long-shot hopes for the nomination in part on public appreciation for a proposal that changes how the United States pays for long-term care.
While Orkin maintains that this investment in the therapy is "about right," he and the panel recommend that more of the money be directed toward laboratory efforts than long-shot studies of patients.
She started going to the cinema instead and last week's movie was about a girl who nurses a racehorse back to health and enters it in a big race as a long-shot.
THE Carling Cup final looks to be a wide open affair..so go for a long-shot..who likes a long shot.
The John Oxx-trained colt powered through in the final furlong to catch 50-1 long-shot Murawwi close to home to triumph by a head yesterday.
MATT Clarke says self-proclaimed long-shots Halesowen Town must be prepared to gamble to upset the odds in the Zamaretto Premier promotion race.
g ear that would fore Big Long-shots like him are giving golf betting a bad name and that's normally my job.