Take a shot

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Take a shot is an interesting idiom because it has several different meanings. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom take a shot, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.

Take a shot is a phrase that may be used literally to mean to shoot at something; however, the term may also be used figuratively to mean 1.) to make an attempt or to try something, 2.) to attempt to score while playing a sport, 3.) to make a derogatory remark about someone or insult that person, 4.) to take a photograph, 5.) to quickly drink a small amount of hard liquor out of a small glass. The idiom take a shot comes from the literal meaning, which is to attempt to shoot at something. The figurative meanings of take a shot have been in use for some time; exactly when and how these expressions came into use is foggy.


First Lady Jill Biden declined the opportunity to get a little wild on Saturday afternoon when she was offered a shot of alcohol by the owner of a bar she was having lunch at. (Daily Mail)

Burrow probably didn’t mean to take a shot at Cincinnati, he is an Ohio native after all. (Sports Illustrated)

Column: The Chicago Bears had to take a shot at a QB — and they did, moving up to draft Justin Fields on what could prove to be a pivotal day in the NFC North (Chicago Tribune)

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