Definition of shotgun in English:



  • 1A smooth-bore gun for firing small shot at short range.

    • ‘Kimmitt said troops at the scene found a variety of weapons, including shotguns, handguns, rifles and machine guns.’
    • ‘He reloaded his shotgun to fire the second shot.’
    • ‘In the first week of the amnesty, eight weapons were surrendered to Bolton police, including a rifle, a shotgun, three air rifles, two air pistols and an imitation gun.’
    • ‘If you're using a shotgun at short range you'll generally score a hit, but with a handgun at long range you end up wasting ammo more than anything else.’
    • ‘Did anyone check to see if the shotgun was loaded?’
    • ‘Spent shotgun cartridges have been recovered from the scene.’
    • ‘With the advent of the self-contained cartridge, repeating rifles, shotguns and handguns replaced single shots.’
    • ‘He was captured with an assault rifle, a shotgun, and two pistols.’
    • ‘Two firearms, a shotgun and a rifle, were confiscated at the scene.’
    • ‘Few firearms are as visually intimidating as a double-barreled shotgun.’
    • ‘Security guards were robbed at gunpoint by raiders wielding a sawn-off shotgun and a pistol.’
    • ‘One thug brandishing a shotgun kept watch while the other three, armed with a machete and an iron bar, rushed inside and grabbed hundreds of Rolex, Omega and Cartier watches.’
    • ‘The suspected burglar fled the farm but was later discovered nearby with a minor wound in his leg caused by shotgun pellets.’
    • ‘Final returns are still being evaluated, but the haul includes hand guns, rifles, shotguns, air guns and imitation firearms.’
  • 2North American informal The front passenger seat in a vehicle.

    [as modifier] ‘I took the shotgun seat’
    • ‘Juan takes shotgun and is supposed to be in charge of the tunes while making sure I don't get lost.’
    • ‘I told him to strap himself in and then slid into the driver's seat as Nana took shotgun.’
    • ‘If I was pitching that day, my warmup would generally consist of throwing someone's socks to the shotgun seat from the back.’
    • ‘I had a '60 Ford Galaxie back in the 60s that had a rust hole behind the "shotgun" seat.’
    • ‘I can only imagine that when Zack takes his friends places, he gets both the driver's seat and shotgun.’
    • ‘The car's driver and shotgun seats are all manually controlled, which is to be expected in an all electric vehicle.’
    1. 2.1[as exclamation]Used to claim the right to sit in the front passenger seat of a vehicle on a particular journey.
      ‘‘Shotgun!’ she yelled and tossed the keys to Veronica’
      • ‘I watched two men with bulging backpacks descend the stairs and load them into the boot, nearly filling it up. "Shotgun!" one of them said.’
      • ‘Did he yell out "Shotgun" to ride up front with the engineer?’
      • ‘"Shotgun!" he shouted, scurrying to the passenger side.’
      • ‘The second I closed the door, I shouted "Shotgun!"’
      • ‘"Shotgun!" Benjamin called as he jumped into the passenger side.’


North American
  • 1Aimed at a wide range of things; having no specific target.

    ‘many companies use the shotgun approach, aiming advertising at the widest possible audience’
    • ‘All companies want to up-sell and cross-sell current customers, but most take a shotgun approach.’
    • ‘Like tiny divining rods, these drugs hunt down only diseased cells, avoiding the shotgun approach of past chemotherapies.’
    • ‘One other lesson and that is you cannot build or strengthen institutions using a shotgun approach.’
    • ‘I love George and wish him well, but the shotgun approach strikes me as counterproductive.’
    • ‘I am taking the shotgun approach to the insurance question.’
  • 2Denoting a long, narrow single-storey house whose rooms are arranged one behind another.

    ‘his family lived in a shotgun shack in South Memphis’
    • ‘She uses a "little shotgun shack in a checkered neighborhood in Lexington" as an art and writing studio.’
    • ‘Neighbors were attempting to avoid further development in the chronically cramped neighborhood of shotgun cottages.’
    • ‘The following day, after a pilgrimage to Elvis's childhood home (a two roomed shotgun shack in Tupelo) we headed for Fulton, a small town in Northern Mississippi.’
    • ‘On the icy road to nowhere, the car flips over the railing and lands near a seemingly abandoned shotgun shack.’
    • ‘Upgrading shotgun shacks to uber-rich steel and glass high-rises is as simple as clicking through a transparent overlay, provided you have the funds.’
    • ‘George invited him to stay the night in the family's shotgun shack.’
    • ‘Two years ago the council blocked the demolition of a 100-year-old, uninhabitable shotgun cottage.’
    • ‘They don't live on the wrong side of the tracks in McIntyre, Ga. Their shotgun shack lies virtually on the railroad tracks.’


  • 1Shoot at or kill with a shotgun.

    ‘he had been shotgunned by drug dealers’
    • ‘He's the murderer. He shotgunned his wife and her fancy man’
    • ‘One of the star prosecution witnesses had been shotgunned to death.’
    • ‘He was shotgunned in the back while lying on the floor of the convenience store where he worked as a clerk.’
    • ‘One came driving at me, so I shotgunned him in the head as he drove past.’
    • ‘He acknowledged he shotgunned his parents to death.’
  • 2North American informal Consume (a canned drink) in one go by puncturing the can, putting one’s mouth over the resulting hole, and then opening the can by means of the ring pull to produce a rapid flow.

    ‘a group of us shotgunned beers’
    • ‘Just reading the names together in one sentence made my head start banging furiously and caused me to shotgun a beer.’
    • ‘The video follows Shana Cleveland on an introspective winter walk through Index, WA while the rest of the band shotgun beers and drive around in truck beds.’
    • ‘The video sees the band members going into party mode, shotgunning beers and frolicking around in a swimming pool.’
    • ‘He's signalling to the ref that they are to shotgun the beers!’
    • ‘Eventually I stumbled out of the place, shotgunning a Mountain Dew.’
    • ‘By the end of their day together he has shotgunned a Bud Light and gotten a new tattoo.’
    • ‘Some of the more common methods of consuming alcohol like taking shots, keg parties, shotgunning cans of beer, binge drinking etc. etc. doesn't seem to be enough for some alcohol consumers.’
    • ‘We went in the pool, had a water bomb fight, ate pizza, shotgunned cans of fanta and sprite, watched Scary Movie 4 and played some card games.’
    • ‘It's refreshing to see sommeliers who would be just as comfortable shotgunning beers in a frat house as evaluating high-end Bordeaux at a French chateau.’
    • ‘Kelsey and I just shotgunned cans of Pepsi in front of our house in honor of her 21st birthday.’
    • ‘Soon we were on the road, with Mark shotgunning Red Bulls at every stop while sipping them in between.’


  • call shotgun

    • informal Claim the right to sit in the front passenger seat of a vehicle on a particular journey.

      ‘my girlfriend called shotgun, so I sat in the back seat’
      • ‘If that politician ever asks to go for a ride, call shotgun.’
      • ‘I call shotgun: Kiri usually claims the best spot at the front of the sidecar, leaving Mari and Hine to perch behind.’
      • ‘Significant others of the driver or other people related (non-siblings) to the driver need not call shotgun.’
      • ‘Adults can fit in the cheap seats way out back, but the tallest ones will want to call shotgun on long trips.’
      • ‘Janet remembers when the rules were simple: windows down and radio up, everyone chipped in for gas and shotgun went to whoever called it first.’
      • ‘Rocky called shotgun so I got in the back.’
      • ‘None of your passengers will be calling shotgun, and you might make a habit of letting friends drive, so you can lounge in back.’
  • ride shotgun

    • 1informal Travel as a guard next to the driver of a vehicle.

      ‘police have begun riding shotgun on buses to protect frightened drivers and passengers’
      • ‘We need someone to ride shotgun with our first responders-more guns, right?’
      • ‘It goes like this: the secret service agents detailed to ride shotgun on the motorcade went out drinking the night before.’
      • ‘One crew came under such sustained abuse that town hall chiefs ordered Neighbourhood Safety officers to ride shotgun on the truck to stop the attacks.’
      • ‘Wyatt rode shotgun for Wells Fargo stagecoaches and moonlighted as a gambler.’
      • ‘When I rode shotgun for truck drivers, my weapon of choice was a 12-gauge pump-action.’
      1. 1.1Ride in the front passenger seat of a vehicle.
        ‘Jacob got in the back seat next to Katie and Jessica rode shotgun’
        • ‘One Porsche fan will be given the chance to ride shotgun in the one-off 911 on Britain's Silverstone circuit.’
        • ‘If your dog likes to ride shotgun with you in the car, margarine tubs are the perfect utensil for dog food and water to-go.’
        • ‘The redhead riding shotgun turned and looked at me with disgust.’
        • ‘To begin with, only lightly used rural or suburban roads will be used, and with a person riding shotgun ready to take over in emergencies.’
        • ‘The ride did sit well with the team sponsor and his country's minister of sport, who rode shotgun in the team's car.’
        • ‘The Corvette has a refined ride quality that will appeal not only to drivers but the lady friends who will inevitably be riding shotgun.’
        • ‘Last year, she rode shotgun in a NASCAR vehicle for several laps at a California racetrack.’
        • ‘The car packed, we left early the next day, me driving and my son riding shotgun with his "Death Jar" containing the now dead (hopefully) spider.’
        • ‘I walked away with a minor break to my arm but my brother who was riding shotgun in the front seat required stitches after his head impacted the windshield.’
        • ‘They honk to her and the man riding shotgun gets out and lets her into the front passenger seat.’
        • ‘"It makes the interior feel very open," said Tom, who rode shotgun on a trip to Michigan.’
        • ‘Her son, riding shotgun, proudly filmed his mother driving and then posted it on YouTube.’