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Alternative forms[edit]


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


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, chiefly 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.


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

Derived terms[edit]


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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 0470585234):
      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.


shotgun ‎(not comparable)

  1. Of or relating to a shotgun.
    The ground was littered with shotgun shells.
  2. Occurring as a result of the threat of force.
    a shotgun wedding
  3. Utilizing numerous or highly diverse means to achieve a particular result.