shoot oneself in the foot

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shoot oneself in the foot (third-person singular simple present shoots oneself in the foot, present participle shooting oneself in the foot, simple past and past participle shot oneself in the foot)

  1. (idiomatic) To act against one's own interests; to unintentionally behave self-destructively.
    • 1982 April, “Reagan shoots from the lip”, in Black Enterprise, volume 12, number 9, page 16:
      but as President he frequently shoots himself in the foot. Some of his erroneous public statements are dillies.
    • 2007, Paul Collier, The bottom billion: why the poorest countries are failing and what can be done about it, page 85:
      The countries that stopped shooting themselves in the foot were able to break into new export markets
    • 2009 August, SPIN, volume 25, number 8, page 62:
      "I've always been the guy who shoots himself in the foot and squanders every opportunity," he says. "Now it's like, 'Do I throw it all away — or just try?'"
    • 2020 April 9, Gaby Hinsliff, “We used to moan about normal life, now our fear is we'll never get it back”, in The Guardian[1]:
      The fear is that the economic aftermath of this crisis, like the virus itself, might be toughest on those with pre-existing conditions – including otherwise thriving western countries choosing this moment in history to shoot themselves in the foot.
    • 2022 February 7, Peter Stone, “Trump's incendiary Texas speech may have deepened his legal troubles, experts say”, in The Guardian[2], archived from the original on 12 November 2022, retrieved 11 November 2022:
      Dennis Aftergut, a former federal prosecutor who is of counsel to Lawyers Defending American Democracy, told the Guardian that Trump "may have shot himself in the foot" with the comments. "Criminal intent can be hard to prove, but when a potential defendant says something easily seen as intimidating or threatening to those investigating the case it becomes easier," Aftergut said.



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