shoot the breeze

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(This etymology is missing or incomplete. Please add to it, or discuss it at the Etymology scriptorium.)A slang phrase, alluding to talking into the wind, it was first recorded in 1919. In the variant, first recorded in 1908, bull is used instead of breeze, and means "empty talk" or "lies."


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

  1. (idiomatic, US) To chat idly or generally waste time talking.
    Synonyms: bat the breeze, chew the fat, shoot the shit, shoot the bull
    We were just standing around shooting the breeze.
    • 1989, Lethal Weapon 2, spoken by Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson):
      Oh, I've just been upstairs with your boss, shooting the breeze… shooting his fish.
    • 1999, The Ninth Gate, spoken by Dean Corso (Johnny Depp):
      Listen, I came here to do some business, not shoot the breeze. If you want to expound your personal philosophies, write another book.


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