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A wedding that happens quickly due to an unplanned pregnancy. After finding out she was pregnant, Gina and Tom had a shotgun wedding.
Fig. a forced wedding. (From imagery of the bride's father having threatened the bridegroom with a shotgun to force him to marry the bride because he made her pregnant.) Mary was six months pregnant when she married Bill. It was a real shotgun wedding. Bob would never have married Jane if she hadn't been pregnant. Jane's father saw to it that it was a shotgun wedding.
An agreement or compromise made through necessity, as in Since neither side won a majority, the coalition government was obviously a shotgun wedding . This expression alludes to a marriage precipitated by a woman's pregnancy, causing her father to point a literal or figurative gun at the responsible man's head. Its figurative use dates from the mid-1900s.
a shotgun wedding
1. A shotgun wedding is a wedding that happens quickly because the woman is pregnant. The sort of marriage that starts with a shotgun wedding never quite escapes from the feeling that one partner or the other has been trapped.
2. A shotgun wedding is when two companies or organizations join together suddenly because they need to. The committee was created through a shotgun wedding between the community relations commission and the race relations board.
a ˌshotgun ˈwedding/ˈmarriage(old-fashioned, informal) a marriage which takes place because the woman is pregnant
This expression probably refers to the father of a woman, who threatens to shoot the man unless he marries her.
n. a forced wedding, presumably because the bride is pregnant. It was a shotgun wedding, but they sure are in love.
A wedding made compulsory by bride's pregnancy. At a time and in social circles where a baby's illegitimacy stigmatized both mother and child, something had to be done, and in a hurry. As soon as his unwed daughter broke the news of her pregnancy and the father-to-be's unwillingness to marry her, the father grabbed his shotgun off the wall. With such motivation, the young man was forced to accompany the young lady to the nearest preacher or justice of the peace to make her an honest woman. The phase is sometimes used to describe business mergers made only for reasons of expediency.