shoot (one's) bolt(redirected from shoot their bolts)
shoot (one's) bolt
To exhaust oneself doing some task and thus struggle to complete it. Try to pace yourself—if you shoot your bolt now, you'll never make it through all 18 holes.
shoot one's bolt
Also, shoot one's wad. Do all within one's power; exhaust one's resources or capabilities. For example, They were asking for more ideas but Bob had shot his bolt and couldn't come up with any , or Don't shoot your wad with that article or you won't have any material for the sequels. The first expression comes from archery and referred to using up all of one's bolts (short, heavy arrows fired with a crossbow); it was a proverb by the 1200s. The colloquial variant, dating from about 1900, comes from gambling and refers to spending all of a wad of rolled-up banknotes. Also see shoot the works.
shoot your boltBRITISH, INFORMAL
If someone has shot their bolt, they have done everything they can to achieve something but have failed, and now can do nothing else to achieve their aims. The opposition have really shot their bolt; they'll never ever get any more votes than this. Note: This expression uses the idea of an archer who has only one arrow or `bolt' and is defenceless once he has fired it.
have shot your bolthave done all that is in your power. informal
In this idiom, the bolt referred to is a thick, heavy arrow for a crossbow.
1998 Spectator The Britpop boom has ended, the Spice Girls have shot their bolt.
shoot your ˈbolt(informal) make a final attempt to do something, especially if this attempt comes too early to be successful: In an argument it’s important not to shoot your bolt too soon. Keep one or two good points for the end.In this idiom, bolt refers to an arrow that was shot from a crossbow.
shoot (one's) boltSlang
To do all within one's power; exhaust all of one's resources or capabilities.