shot across the bow(s)

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shot across the bow(s)

A warning. It refers to a warning shot from a ship, and can take the form of words or actions. Her sharp retort was a shot across the bow, letting her boyfriend know that she would not tolerate his bad attitude.
See also: across, shot
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

a shot across the bows

or

a warning shot across the bows

FORMAL
COMMON A shot across the bows or a warning shot across the bows is something that someone does or says to show someone else that they are prepared to fight or compete with them, often if they continue to do what they are doing. `Bows' is pronounced with the same vowel sound as the word `how'. As a warning shot across the bows of their rivals, the company is already setting very low prices. This vote is a protest, a shot across the bows to the leadership, to show them that we're here. Note: You can also use the shorter expression a warning shot. The protest should act as a warning shot to the government. Note: People often use the verb fire before these expressions, and, less often, verbs such as deliver and send. Britain's agriculture minister departed from his prepared speech to fire a shot across Norway's bows. The electorate has sent a warning shot which our politicians must now take notice of. Note: The bows are the front part of a ship.
See also: across, bow, shot
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

(fire) a (warning) shot across somebody’s ˈbows

do something to warn an enemy, a competitor, etc. that you will take further action against them if necessary: The President’s speech on Friday was a shot across the bows of the banks. If they don’t change their policies, he will change the law.This expression refers to encounters between ships of hostile nations. One ship might fire a shot at another, not in order to hit it, but to warn it to move.
See also: across, bow, shot
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
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References in periodicals archive ?
Microsoft's timing should concern Google as this is clearly a shot across the bow to own the personal assistant space on Android.
Califano addressed is, in my opinion, a welcome shot across the bow to those members of the health profession in favor of a single-payer system ("It's No 'Holiday' for Doctors," Guest Editorial, Oct.
Ackerman's "shot across the bow" is aimed at institutions that have already suffered too many direct hits, and it risks flying wide of the mark, striking universities and community colleges at the water line.
Announcing the extension of the offer, Oracle spokesperson Jim Finn took a shot across the bow of PeopleSoft, which had upgraded its public earnings expectations earlier yesterday.
The next step was the creation of a "shot across the bow" letter.
The firing of O'Neill was "a shot across the bow" of Greenspan, an administration official says.
Durbin said, "I believe we should modify the current definition of dietary supplement categories...to highlight the difference between vitamins and minerals, potent herbal products that act like drugs and animal derivatives...as well as [excluding] steroid precursors like andro from the dietary supplement category." Responding to the hearing was David Seckman, director and CEO, NNFA, Newport Beach, CA, who s aid, "The significance of this hearing remains to be seen, but it definitely constitutes a shot across the bow in our efforts to protect DSHEA.
I think that our statement of Christian outreach, which will include critical issues such as the importance of not trying to convert the Jews, will be a shot across the bow of many Christian denominations.
The Service has definitely "fired a shot across the bow" of split-dollar arrangements.
And we became convinced above all of one thing: that this issue represents a shot across the bow. Further topics, initiatives and personalities from the worlds of deaf theatre and disability-specific theatre are already on the magazine's long-range agenda of coverage.
"McCain's success is a shot across the bow to religious conservatives," says Amy Walter, an editor of the Cook Political Report, an insider's guide to American politics.
NORTH CANTON, Ohio--In what amounts to a warning shot across the bow, the Hoover Co.
Hatch in his own words says that the letter "tired a shot across the bow to those who might think we were equivocating." In it, he wrote that the environmental aspects of everything the Corps does "must have equal standing" with sound engineering and economics (favorable cost/benefit ratios) as "part of the 'go/no-go' test" that all projects under consideration must undergo.
In his opinion, this was a major shot across the bow from IBM and Rometty to core cloud players such as Amazon (AMZN) Microsoft (MSFT), and Google (GOOG; GOOGL) that there is another player in town that plans to aggressively compete in this massive secular hybrid cloud shift.