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Alternative formsEdit


From shot +‎ gun. Front passenger seat sense comes from ride shotgun.


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shotgun (countable and uncountable, plural shotguns)

  1. (firearms) A gun which fires loads typically consisting of small metal balls, called shot, from a cartridge.
  2. (slang) The front passenger seat in a vehicle, next to the driver; so called because the position of the shotgun-armed guard on a horse-drawn stage-coach, wagon train, or gold transport was next to the driver on a forward-mounted bench seat.
    I call shotgun! (I claim the right to sit in the passenger seat.)
  3. (US, especially Southern US) A one-story dwelling with no hallways or corridors, with the rooms arranged in a straight line.
    Elvis Presley was born in a two-bedroom shotgun in Tupelo, Mississippi.
  4. (American football) A play formation in which the quarterback is a few feet behind the snapper when the ball is hiked, ideally allowing for an easier pass play.
  5. (attributive, as a modifier) Relating to shotguns, either in a present or past sense: e.g. shotgun cartridges, shotgun seat.
  6. (attributive, as a modifier) Relating to the threat of force or dubious means: e.g. shotgun wedding, shotgun diplomacy.
  7. (attributive, as a modifier) Relating to the use of numerous, diverse or indiscriminate means to achieve a particular result: e.g. shotgun marketing, a shotgun approach.


  • (gun which fires loads of small metal balls): scattergun

Derived termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.


shotgun (third-person singular simple present shotguns, present participle shotgunning, simple past and past participle shotgunned)

  1. (slang, smoking) To inhale from a pipe or other smoking device, followed shortly by an exhalation into someone else’s mouth.
  2. (transitive, informal) To verbally lay claim to (something)
    I got a day off because I shotgunned it.
  3. (transitive, baseball) To hit the ball directly back at the pitcher.
  4. (US, slang) To rapidly drink a beverage from a can by making a hole in the bottom of the can, placing the hole above one's mouth, and opening the top.
  5. (US, slang) To send out many (requests, answers to a question, etc), especially in the hope that one obtains a positive result (i.e. reveals useful information, is correct, etc), in the manner of a shotgun firing many balls of shot such that one may hit a target.
    • 2009, Writing Fiction For Dummies →ISBN:
      An actual physical piece of paper shows that you're not just shotgunning out queries to every agent on the planet.
    • 2013, Zack Arias, Photography Q&A: Real Questions, Real Answers, page 197:
    • It's like they are on a generic mailing list and some photographer is just shotgunning cards out into the world with no thought as to who they are actually going to.