One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1historical A short large-bored gun firing balls or slugs.
- ‘In addition to the fine furniture, pictures, silver and glass that one might expect, there are also fans, duelling pistols and blunderbusses, a tiger skin rug, a butcher's block, a spinning wheel, a Dun Emer carpet and sporting equipment.’
- ‘Arrived outside, they collected some blunderbusses, rifles and revolvers, and took up a position behind some sandhills.’
- ‘I should have used a blunderbuss not a derringer.’
- ‘However, his soldiers now have more primitive weapons, such as blunderbusses, muskets, swords, and repeating crossbows.’
- ‘Messengers would travel by stagecoach armed with pistols and blunderbusses, ready to shoot to kill any bandits or highwaymen.’
2An action or way of doing something regarded as lacking in subtlety and precision.‘economists resort too quickly to the blunderbuss of regulation’
- ‘Revenue are going after people in a blunderbuss approach without making allowances for the fact that some people have inherited this problem.’
- ‘The key to the proper use of antibiotics is to use them like a sharp-shooting rifle and avoid any blunderbuss approach.’
- ‘Instead he got a policy and political blunderbuss who must not have been paying attention during the 2000 presidential campaign.’
- ‘That's a tough situation, and the best thing would be to find a real blunderbuss antifungal that would pitch in for all of them.’
- ‘It may be that the councillor considers his remarks merely reflected the opinion of people in his ward, but he nevertheless mistakenly fired a blunderbuss that rubbished all 8,000 employees.’
- ‘Smart sanctions (not the current blunderbuss kind), coercive inspections, and maintenance of the no-fly zones are the alternatives to full-blown war.’
- ‘The blunderbuss approach of ordering a panel of 10 or more stains on every suspected large cell anaplastic tumor can no longer be justified economically or academically.’
- ‘Do men deserve the rap that they're emotional blunderbusses who can't communicate to save their lives, especially with female partners?’
- ‘Unfortunately, rather than considering specific solutions, opponents of spam are currently adopting a blunderbuss approach, latching on to every anti-spam technology going in the vain hope that one of them might do the job.’
- ‘Unfortunately, it seems the benefits of such a crackdown are again to be obscured by its blunderbuss approach.’
- ‘Currently companies are putting stuff into letter boxes using a blunderbuss approach.’
- ‘These are molecules that are targeted to specific parts of the inflammatory cascade, so they interfere very specifically with inflammation and they very often don't have the blunderbuss side effects.’
- ‘These are highly original thinkers, who have developed a new way of treating cancer by moving away from the blunderbuss cutting-burning-poisoning approach of modern medicine.’
- ‘Lots of other people are doing similar events, ours is just a blunderbuss approach, it is not targeted.’
- ‘Traditional chemistry uses a blunderbuss approach, based on the idea that if you produce 10,000 variations of a drug that seems to work a bit you will probably come up with something that works a bit better.’
- ‘This may be criticised on a number of grounds, such as its acceptance of a blunderbuss hit and miss approach, or its presumption of guilt in relation to those whose premises were being searched.’
- ‘In fact, getting selective kinase inhibitors was the hard part - looking back, had we but known, we all could have probably skipped that step and gone right to the blunderbusses.’
- ‘If people can think of better places to call, please let me know, since I realize I'm taking something of a blunderbuss approach here.’
- ‘Is there really sufficient justification for furnishing prosecutors with such a blunderbuss?’
- ‘Taken together, its blunderbuss approach to law enforcement has watchdog groups growling.’
Mid 17th century: alteration (by association with blunder) of Dutch donderbus, literally ‘thunder gun’.
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