Language: Old English
Origin: sceotan


1 verb
shoot1 S2 W2 past tense and past participle shot


[transitive] to deliberately kill or injure someone using a gun:
Police shot one suspect when he pulled a gun on them.
Smith killed his wife, and then shot himself.
A woman was shot dead in an attempted robbery.
shoot somebody in the leg/head etc
He had been shot in the back while trying to escape.
The guards have orders to shoot intruders on sight (=shoot them as soon as they see them).

fire a gun etc

[intransitive and transitive] to make a bullet or arrow come from a weapon:
Don't shoot! I'm coming out with my hands up.
shoot at
Two guys walked in and started shooting at people.
The soldiers had orders to shoot to kill (=shoot at someone with the intention of killing them).
shoot bullets/arrows
They shot arrows from behind the thick bushes.
shoot a gun/rifle etc
Tod's grandfather taught him to shoot a rifle.


[intransitive and transitive]DSO to shoot and kill animals or birds as a sport:
They spent the weekend in Scotland shooting grouse.

move quickly

[intransitive,transitive always + adverb/preposition] to move quickly in a particular direction, or to make something move in this way:
She shot past me into the house.
The cat shot across the garden.
'Where does cotton come from?' Ron's hand shot up. 'America, Miss!'
The fountain shoots water 20 feet into the air.

try to score

[intransitive and transitive]DS to kick or throw a ball in a sport such as football or basketball towards the place where you can get a point:
Giggs shot from the halfway line.

look at somebody

shoot somebody a look/glance

also shoot a glance at somebody to look at someone quickly, especially so that other people do not see, to show them how you feel
shoot somebody a quick/sharp/warning etc look/glance
'You're welcome to stay as long as you like.' Michelle shot him a furious glance.
Jack shot an anxious look at his mother.


[intransitive and transitive]TCN to take photographs or make a film of something:
The movie was shot in New Zealand.


[intransitive always + adverb/preposition] if pain shoots through your body, you feel it going quickly through it
shoot through/along
A sharp pain suddenly shot along his arm.
shooting pains (=continuous short pains passing through your body)

shoot it out (with somebody)

if people shoot it out, they fight using guns, especially until one person or group is killed or defeated by the other:
a scene in which the cops shoot it out with the drug dealers

shoot yourself in the foot

to say or do something stupid that will cause you a lot of trouble:
If he keeps talking, pretty soon he'll shoot himself in the foot.

shoot questions at somebody

to ask someone a lot of questions very quickly:
The prosecutor shot a series of rapid questions at Hendrickson.

shoot your mouth off

informal to talk about something that you should not talk about or that you know nothing about:
Don't go shooting your mouth off.

shoot the bull/breeze

American English informal to have an informal conversation about unimportant things:
Cal and I were sitting on the porch, shooting the breeze.


American English spoken used to tell someone to start speaking:
'I have a few questions.' 'OK, shoot.'

shoot from the hip

to say what you think in a direct way, or make a decision very quickly, without thinking about it first

shoot to fame/stardom/prominence

to suddenly become very famous:
Brian, an air steward, shot to fame on the television show 'Big Brother'.

shoot to number 1/to the top of the charts etc

to suddenly become very successful in the popular music charts (=the list of records that have sold the most copies that week):
Westlife's new album shot straight to the top of the charts.

shoot hoops/baskets

informal to practise throwing basketballs into the basket

shoot the rapids

to sail a small boat along a river that is moving very fast over rocks, as a sport:
He was shooting the rapids when his canoe capsized.

shoot pool

informal to play the game of pool

shoot craps

American English informal to play the game of craps


[intransitive]HBP if a plant shoots, a new part of it starts to grow, especially a new stem and leaves

lock on a door

[transitive] to move the bolt on a door so that it is in the locked or unlocked position

have shot your bolt

British English informal also have shot your wad informal American English to have used all of your money, power, energy etc

shoot your load

informal to ejaculate

➔ blame/shoot the messenger

at messenger1 (2)

shoot somebody/something ↔ down

phrasal verb
1 to make an enemy plane crash to the ground, by firing weapons at it:
His plane was shot down over France in 1944.
2 to kill or seriously injure someone by shooting them, especially someone who cannot defend themselves:
The army were accused of shooting down unarmed demonstrators.
3 informal to say or show that someone's ideas or opinions are wrong or stupid:
I tried to help, but all my suggestions were shot down in flames, as usual.

shoot for/at something

phrasal verb
to try to achieve a particular aim, especially one that is very difficult [= aim for]:
We are shooting for a 50% increase in sales in the next financial year.

shoot off

phrasal verb
to leave somewhere quickly or suddenly:
Sorry, but I'll have to shoot off before the end of the meeting.

shoot through

phrasal verb
Australian English informal to leave a place quickly, especially in order to avoid someone or something

➔ be shot through with something

at shot2 (3)

shoot up

phrasal verb
1 to increase very quickly and suddenly:
Demand for water has shot up by 70% over the last 30 years.
2 if a child shoots up, he or she grows taller very quickly and suddenly:
I can't believe this is Joshua - he's shot up since we last saw him!

shoot somebody/something ↔ up

to cause serious injury or damage to someone or something by shooting them with bullets:
Then two men came in and shot up the entire lobby.

shoot up (something)

informalMDD to put illegal drugs into your blood, using a needle:
Kids as young as ten are shooting up heroin.

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