• (RP) IPA: /ˈʃɒtɡʌn/
  • (GA) IPA: /ˈʃɑtɡʌn/


  1. (firearms) A gun which fires loads typically consisting of small metal balls, called shot, from a cartridge.
    ''Meat was cooked up within hours after the hunter killed the deer with his shotgun.
  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, especially, 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) An offensive formation in which the quarterback receives the snap at a distance behind the center, often with a running back set to one or both sides of him.
  5. (attributive, as a modifier) Relating to shotguns, either in a present or past sense: e.g. shotgun cartridges, shotgun seat.
  6. (attributive, as a modifier) Relating to the threat of force or dubious means: e.g. shotgun wedding, shotgun diplomacy.
  7. (attributive, as a modifier) Relating to the use of numerous, diverse or indiscriminate means to achieve a particular result: e.g. shotgun marketing, a shotgun approach.
  • (gun which fires loads of small metal balls) scattergun
  • (the front passenger seat in a vehicle, next to the driver) death seat
Translations Translations
  • French: place du mort
  • German: Beifahrersitz
  • Italian: sedile passeggero anteriore, sidecar
  • Russian: (переднее пассажирское) сиде́нье

shotgun (shotguns, present participle shotgunning; 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.
  6. (computing, slang) To employ the technique of shotgun debugging.
    • 1998, Stuart Ball, Debugging Embedded Microprocessor Systems (page 71)
      Understand the problem before fixing it. About the only scenario where shotgunning is useful is if there is a shorted IC and you cannot tell which one it is.

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