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1. A shot fired easily or recklessly. The phrase comes from hunting (in which shots ideally yield food for one's pot). You boys can't just take pot shots at any creature you see—there are rules we have to follow out here! Why did you fire a pot shot like that and betray our position to the enemy?
2. By extension, an unfair or opportunistic insult or criticism, especially one directed at someone who is vulnerable. Now that everyone knows I was involved in that scandal, the reporters love taking pot shots at me.
take a pot shot
1. To fire a shot easily or recklessly. The phrase comes from hunting (in which shots ideally yield food for one's pot). You boys can't just take pot shots at any creature you see—there are rules we have to follow out here!
2. By extension, to direct a cheap, unfair, or opportunistic insult or criticism at someone, especially someone who is vulnerable. Now that everyone knows I was involved in that scandal, the reporters love taking pot shots at me.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
take a potshot at someone or something
1. Lit. to shoot at someone or something, as with a shotgun. (A potshot refers to the type of shooting done to provide meat for the cooking pot.) The hunters were taking potshots at each other in the woods. Someone has been taking potshots at my mailbox!
2. Fig. to criticize or censure someone or something, often just to be mean. Why are you taking potshots at me? What did I do to you? Everyone in the audience was taking potshots at the comedian's toupee.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
take a ˈpotshot/ˈpotshots (at somebody/something)(informal)
1 fire at somebody without aiming carefully: Somebody took a potshot at him as he drove past.
2 criticize somebody suddenly and without thinking: The newspapers took potshots at his attempts to get into the movie business.This was originally a shot fired from a close distance to kill an animal for food (for the pot). As the shot required no skill it broke the rules of sport.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
n. a sharp criticism; a wild shot of criticism. (Usually with take.) Please stop taking potshots at me!
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.