shoot down, to
1. To reject, foil, or disappoint the aspirations of someone or something. A noun or pronoun can be used between "shoot" and "down." I asked John out for a date, but he shot me down. The committee shot down our plans for a new apartment block. The candidate was able to shoot down each of his opponents' claims with indisputable proof.
2. To fire upon an aircraft in order to destroy it or force it to land or crash. A noun or pronoun can be used between "shoot" and "down." We're under orders to shoot down any aircraft in the no-fly zone. If they enter our airspace, shoot them down.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2022 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
shoot (someone, something, or an animal) down
to bring down someone, something, or an animal by gunfire. Fred shot Mike down in the street. They shot down the plane.
shoot something down
Fig. to foil a plan through criticism; to counter an idea with criticism. (Based on shoot someone, something, or an animal down.) He raised a good point, but the others shot him down almost immediately. Liz shot down Jeff's best idea.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. Ruin the aspirations of, disappoint, as in Bill was hoping Sharon would go out with him, but she shot him down.
2. Reject, defeat; also, expose as false. For example, It was the best idea I could come up with, but they unanimously shot it down, or It was inevitable that they would shoot down any claim made by the opposing candidate. This colloquial expression, which alludes to bringing down an aircraft or game bird by shooting, is sometimes intensified as shoot down in flames, originally (in World War I) referring to bringing down enemy aircraft but the late 1950s extended to decisively defeating anyone or anything.
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.
1. To cause something to collapse or fall by striking it with bullets, missiles, or some other projectile; gun down: They shot down the attacking airplanes. The kids released a balloon and shot it down with an air rifle.
2. To kill someone by shooting them; gun down: They stormed into the office and shot down everyone there. The assassin walked up to her target and shot him down.
3. To discredit someone or someone's proposal: Whenever I offer an opinion, they just shoot me down. The council shot down the mayor's proposal. I'm afraid this new evidence shoots down our old theory of what happened.
4. To ruin the aspirations of someone: Their sneers and insults shot me down. A bad critic can shoot down even a very determined artist.
5. To put an end to something; defeat something: The opposition was able to shoot down the proposal. The electorate shot the incumbent down.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
shoot down, to
To refute an argument completely; to debunk or expose as false. The term comes from aerial warfare in World War I and is also put as “shoot down in flames.” During World War II it began to be used figuratively as well. J. B. Hilton used it in Playground of Death (1981): “Please shoot me down in flames if you think I’m making a bloody fool of myself.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer