Definition of shoot in English:

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Pronunciation: /SHo͞ot/

verb (past and past participle shot /SHät/)

1 [with object] Kill or wound (a person or animal) with a bullet or arrow: he was shot in the leg during an armed robbery [with object and complement]: troops shot dead 29 people
More example sentences
  • He was shot dead with a bullet to his head in the streets of the camp.
  • Robinson was shot dead even though he could have been wounded and arrested.
  • One soldier was shot dead and two wounded on Monday as they stood guard outside a weapons depot.
1.1 [no object] Fire a bullet from a gun or discharge an arrow from a bow: he shot at me twice the troops were ordered to shoot to kill [with object]: they shot a volley of arrows into the village
More example sentences
  • Seiya shot at her but the bullets were absorbed by her shield and sent back at her.
  • Leroy shot at me, but there had only been one bullet in the gun and it only clicked.
  • The kids I see and eat with every day still want to help this country, in spite of getting shot at while doing it.
fire, open fire, aim, snipe, let fly;
bombard, shell
discharge, fire, launch, loose off, let fly, emit
1.2Cause (a gun) to fire.
Example sentences
  • So you never saw him shoot a gun, fire a weapon, right?
  • She couldn't shoot a gun, but she could start a fire without a problem.
  • At drop off the teacher shoots a starting gun and I sprint from the building and peel out of the parking lot to go and do things.
1.3Damage or remove (something) with a bullet or missile: Guy, shoot their hats off
More example sentences
  • Marksmen using high-powered rifles should shoot gas cylinders damaged by flames to prevent major disruption, according to fire chiefs.
  • It would take too long to even take the time to pull back the receiver and slot a single bullet in to shoot his brains out with.
  • Shooting a knife thrown at you is significantly more difficult than shooting a missile launched at you.
1.4 [no object] Hunt game with a gun: we go to Scotland to shoot every autumn
More example sentences
  • Some people argue that hunting is more cruel than shooting as some hunts last for 25 miles and up to 8 hours.
  • Throughout his life he maintained an interest in country ways including National Hunt racing, shooting and fly-fishing.
  • On the other hand, I know there are a lot of folks living outside Manhattan who hunt or enjoy shooting.
1.5 [no object] (shoot over) Shoot game over (an estate or other area of countryside).
Example sentences
  • All had permission to shoot over a wide area with the kind permission of land owners.
  • Actual shooting over grouse moors occurs on very few days per season and not at weekends or on public holidays.
  • Lead shot should not be used for any shooting over wetlands important for feeding waterfowl.
1.6Shoot game in or on (an estate, cover, etc.).
2 [no object] Move suddenly and rapidly in a particular direction: the car shot forward Ward’s hand shot out, grabbing his arm
More example sentences
  • His car then shot forward, hit Mr Skipworth, and then careered into a second parked car.
  • Her car then shot forward and went over the cliff through the railings between some seating.
  • He shot forward suddenly, knocking me backwards with a powerful kick to my chest.
race, speed, flash, dash, dart, rush, hurtle, careen, streak, whiz, go like lightning, go hell-bent for leather, zoom, charge;
career, sweep, fly, wing
informal belt, scoot, scorch, tear, zip, whip, step on it, burn rubber, bomb, hightail it, barrel
2.1 [with object] Cause to move suddenly and rapidly in a particular direction: he would have fallen if Marc hadn’t shot out a hand to stop him Beauchamp shot United into the lead
More example sentences
  • He shot his hand out and the water followed.
  • He shot his hand out, braced himself against the bulkhead, and froze in mid-float.
2.2 [with object] Direct (a glance, question, or remark) at someone: [with two objects]: Luke shot her a quick glance [with direct speech]: “I can’t believe what I’m hearing,” she shot back
More example sentences
  • I remarked shooting a pointed glance at the stereo where someone was still supposedly singing.
  • He pointedly shot a questioning glance at Lino, nodding his head towards Mel and Jessica.
  • Then he shot a questioning glance towards his superior, wondering if he should continue.
2.3Used to invite a comment or question: “May I just ask you one more question?” “Shoot.”
More example sentences
  • Then you say, "now can i ask you a question?", then Dominic says "okay, shoot".
  • Okay, shoot. But don't ask me who the vice president of India is. I hope you know I don’t really read news papers that much.
2.4(Of a pain) move with a sharp stabbing sensation: Claudia felt a shaft of pain shoot through her chest figurative a pang of regret shot through her
More example sentences
  • Groggy farmers and their families awoke with throats, eyes and lungs seared and burning, pain shooting into their chests.
  • To make matters even worse, sharp needles of pain were shooting across her eyes and the soup felt like lead in her stomach.
  • As I reached up to press the elevator button, I winced at the crackling pain shooting down from my shoulder along my arm.
2.5 [with object] (Of a boat) sweep swiftly down or under (rapids, a waterfall, or a bridge).
Example sentences
  • They will travel after taking their GCSE's and take part in lots of different sporting activities from tobogganing to shooting the rapids and boat trips to get close to dolphins and whales.
  • In one case, we hiked a little up the Little Colorado River to shoot some rapids ‘body-style’ in our life jackets.
  • Rowing through a bridge, every sound of the boat echoes, and shooting a bridge adds a burst of power through the boat.
2.6 [with object] informal (Of a motor vehicle) pass (a traffic light at red).
Example sentences
  • I recently received a ticket for shooting a red light in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • The same week, a very experienced and fit cyclist mate permanently damaged his arm after shooting a red light into the path of an oncoming car.
  • In a train crash in 1990, the driver was held to blame for over-shooting a red light.
2.7Extend sharply in a particular direction: a road that seemed to just shoot upward at a terrifying angle
More example sentences
  • When your known risk shoots upward based on new knowledge, you either eat the cost or you get subsidized.
  • Then it suggests that there be a uniform PDS price virtually at acquisition cost, thus allowing BPL prices to shoot upwards.
  • Not surprisingly, many listed retailers saw profits shoot upwards as well, tripling in some cases.
2.8 [with object] Move (a door bolt) to fasten or unfasten a door.
Example sentences
  • When he and his mother had gone out into the darkness, my father shut the front door and shot the big brass bolt.
  • The sterling barkeep takes his large key over to the door and locks it, shooting the bolts home with a quiet trepidation.
  • The effort necessary to shoot a bolt from within a lock is drawn from Houdini the medium, but it must not be thought that this is the only means by which he can escape from his prison.
3 [no object] (In soccer, hockey, basketball, etc.) kick, hit, or throw the ball or puck in an attempt to score a goal: Williams twice shot wide [with object]: after school, we’d go straight out in the alley to shoot baskets
More example sentences
  • He chested down a cross on the edge of the box, juggled it once on his foot with back to goal, turned and shot with his left.
  • He can dribble, he is not afraid to beat men, and of course he can cross, shoot and take free kicks perfectly-what more could you really want from a midfielder?
  • Our game plan in the Finals was to take the puck wide, shoot, and go for rebounds.
3.1 [with object] informal Make (a specified score) for a round of golf: in the second round he shot a 65
More example sentences
  • Melissa Nawa improved her game, shooting an amazing six-over-par 78 but Michael Chiluba bowed out of the competition.
  • Meanwhile, England’s Lee Westwood shot a four-under-par 67 yesterday.
  • The Australian shot a final round of 63 for a 26-under-par total of 262 to secure his second win of the season and third European Tour title.
3.2 [with object] North American informal Play a game of (pool or dice).
Example sentences
  • The two plan to use all of their knowledge of cardsharking, pool shooting, and rolling dice at an unprecedented worldwide gathering of hustlers.
  • I don't know if he could shoot pool, although I had the feeling finding out could prove expensive.
  • Show me an accountant that shoots pool, and I'll show you a game that is carefully calculated.
4 [with object] Film or photograph (a scene, film, etc.): she has just been commissioned to shoot a video [no object]: point the camera and just shoot—nothing could be easier
More example sentences
  • Much of the film is intentionally shot on video tape, so some scenes look grainy and soft.
  • It also meant that every sequence in the film could be shot on location, without the need to make the scenes inside the cab look as though they are fake.
  • Once all the ingredients are assembled, making a film involves shooting scenes and editing them to create the final sensation.
film, photograph, take, snap, capture, record, tape;
videotape, video
5 [no object] (Of a plant or seed) send out buds or shoots; germinate.
Example sentences
  • Vines were also shooting out at Hadez as he spoke.
  • When Dahlia tubers shoot, divide and plant in a sunny spot in the garden.
  • Then they start shooting out seeds, which go a certain distance then fall to the ground and grow.
5.1(Of a bud or shoot) appear; sprout.
Example sentences
  • Near the base each cord has a short branch shooting upward on its right side.
  • Spiky vines shot out of the grass.
  • I pictured the vines shooting out and finally felt the warmth that meant the magic was coming.
sprout, bud, burgeon, germinate
6 [with object] informal Inject oneself or another person with (a narcotic drug): he shot dope into his arm
More example sentences
  • In the last three weeks, up to 25 drug users have come here every night to shoot heroin and cocaine into their veins.
  • In addition, there were frequent public outcries over the users' behaviors, such as shooting their drugs openly in public places.
  • And while the woman did shoot heroin, she also shot a lot of cocaine.
7 [with object] Plane (the edge of a board) accurately.
Example sentences
  • The weight is really a plus when shooting hard and/or thick material.
  • Shoot the edges perfectly straight, true, and square, or at right angles to the face side.


1A young branch or sucker springing from the main stock of a tree or other plant: he nipped off the new shoots that grew where the leaves joined the stems
More example sentences
  • Three similar branches, shoots or tillers per plant were selected for the three treatments.
  • Separate two to three young roots and shoots from the main plant every 4 to 5 years.
  • Tiny flowers may appear in late summer - pinch off the blooms and growing shoots of young plants to maintain foliage colour and encourage bushiness.
sprout, bud, offshoot, scion, sucker, spear, runner, tendril, sprig
2An occasion when a group of people hunt and shoot game for sport: a grouse shoot
More example sentences
  • It featured a sporting clay shoot, guided hunts for pheasant and quail and a celebrity dinner with live and silent auctions.
  • In the first, the applicant S took part in a protest against a grouse shoot.
  • Grouse and partridge shoots are run separately.
2.1British Land used for shooting game.
Example sentences
  • The game shoots of the area supply plenty of pheasant in season, but other game, such as grouse, has suffered due to a succession of wet winters.
  • Game farmers hatch out eggs and day old chicks or poults are delivered to the shoot depending on the model they are operating.
  • There is another similar shoot up the same valley.
2.2A shooting match or contest: activities include a weekly rifle shoot
More example sentences
  • Burridge will now compete with the top 20 scorers in a shoulder-to-shoulder shoot at Bookham Rifle Club on April 6.
  • I also agree that Victoria has been jobbing, due to the fact that if there were a shoot match, the outcome would likely be much different.
  • The races test competitors' teamwork skills, skiing and physical and mental strength as well as accuracy in the rifle shoot.
3An occasion when a professional photographer takes photographs or when a film or video is being made: a photo shoot a fashion shoot
More example sentences
  • Based on what I have learned from past experiences, here are some pointers to make the most of your camp's video or photography shoot.
  • It may be an unusual combination, but the two pursuits don't necessarily conflict, except when Ciara turns up for a fashion shoot sporting a few cuts and bruises.
  • ‘The rest of the week, I have modeling shoots and press conferences,’ she said.
4 variant spelling of chute1.
5A rapid in a stream: follow the portages that skirt all nine shoots of whitewater
More example sentences
  • I swooshed down the shoot and collided with the wave from the bowl.
  • However, we still had one more spot of whitewater to hit: the shoot of Death.


North American informal
Used as a euphemism for ‘shit’: shoot, it was a great day to be alive
More example sentences
  • The longer races are natural for me because - shoot! - I got my early training chasing the bicycle team around town.
  • I ran out my door, slamming it, so I'd wake up all the neighbors; shoot, only one light turned on.
  • Now, a story about ‘a boy from the hood making good’ may not sound so miraculous to you; shoot, it may even sound easily obtainable we heard it so much.



have shot one's bolt

see bolt1.

shoot the breeze (or the bull)

North American informal Have a casual conversation.
Example sentences
  • Firstly, these kids were attending Sandringham Church, not shooting the breeze in some Internet chat room or hanging round a bus-stop and smoking.
  • Last I heard, Bellows was heading out to New York to help start a new magazine, while still shooting the bull about creating a newspaper in Los Angeles.
  • Above the thunderous whir of the aircraft rotors, Nelson and his buddies yelled back and forth, shooting the bull as the copter lifted off.

shoot one's cuffs

Pull one’s shirt cuffs out to project beyond the cuffs of one’s jacket or coat.
Example sentences
  • When he adjusted his waistcoat or shot his cuffs, dragons of unreason gasped and died at his feet.
  • He took a last look in the mirror, fixed his tie, shot his cuffs and puffed out his chest.
  • We bade the ladies a good morning, touched our caps, shot our cuffs and nipped up the hill towards the Bar on the track.

shoot from the hip

informal React suddenly or without careful consideration of one’s words or actions.
Example sentences
  • He doesn't shoot from the hip but takes a more considered approach and would rather explain to people why he holds the views he holds than intimidate them to his point of view.
  • Elaine shot from the hip, which often got her into hot water but she is a huge loss.
  • With that in mind, I have shot from the hip and dared people to respond.

shoot oneself in the foot

informal Inadvertently make a situation worse for oneself.
Example sentences
  • If the customers don't come with you, then you have shot yourself in the foot.
  • But the days when it was mopping up loans attracting 14% of new lending while watching from the sidelines as its competitors routinely shot themselves in the foot, unable to lend any money at all, have gone.
  • The alphabet organisations shot themselves in the foot because of their greed.

shoot it out

informal Engage in a decisive confrontation, typically a gun battle.
Example sentences
  • Very few of these cowards shoot it out with the cops.
  • Of course, eventually the robbers enter the bank, shoot it out with the FBI, and Conway gets shot.
  • The guys you are about to see also know what it's like to shoot it out with a bad guy.

shoot a line

British informal Describe something in an exaggerated, untruthful, or boastful way: he never shot a line about his escapades
More example sentences
  • I suppose it is possible that he was ‘shooting a line’ to the Manager which was then recorded.
  • I said, "You no doubt have done your bit in the Home Guard but it was a good job that you had blokes like us to win the war for you." I was certainly shooting a line.
  • My kids think that I am shooting a line when I say what a great time I had.

shoot one's mouth off

informal Talk boastfully or indiscreetly.
Example sentences
  • If anything, I shot my mouth off when I probably shouldn't have.
  • He wasn't very telegenic; he shot his mouth off; he said things other candidates were too afraid to say.
  • In other words, after he'd shot his mouth off, Hodges remembered that he signed off on the grounding.

Phrasal verbs


shoot someone/something down

Bring down an aircraft or missile by shooting at it: their helicopter was shot down by an air-to-air missile
More example sentences
  • Through the windows you could see the Scuds arcing over the city and the Patriot missiles trying to shoot them down.
  • The TMD system is intended to detect with satellites ballistic missiles flying within a 3,000-kilometer radius and to shoot them down with missiles.
  • The footage also showed that flight patterns were found for aircraft, along with plans and instructions for how to shoot them down.
1.1Kill or wound someone by shooting them, especially in a ruthless way: troops shot down 28 demonstrators
More example sentences
  • Bill Quick is the guy who tells Winer that the group should shoot the murdering creature down before it kills them all.
  • Within the next few minutes a dozen more people were shot down and many wounded.
  • The first wave of soldiers guarding the base was shot down easily, having not been prepared for an attack.
1.2Crush someone or their opinions by forceful criticism or argument: she tried to argue and got shot down in flames for her trouble
More example sentences
  • More than a year before his dream for the North was shot down in flames, Ministers were warned in focus group research that scepticism in the three Northern regions was rife.
  • His aspirations are lofty, yet he has displayed a lack of reverence towards the NFL that means there are already many who hope his aim of winning a Super Bowl is shot down in flames.
  • Bolton's hopes of completing a double over Manchester United were shot down in flames as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer fired the Reds to a 4-0 win at the Reebok Stadium.

shoot through

Australian/New Zealand informal Leave, typically to escape from or avoid someone or something: me wife’s shot through and I can’t pay the rent
1940s: from shoot through like a Bondi tram (Bondi being the name of a Sydney suburb)
More example sentences
  • After his return, he heads for the fairways reluctantly, when a mysterious caddy appears from nowhere, dispenses sage advice and promptly shoots through.
  • Money making people should wake up or shoot through.
  • When I got back to the office the guy from Chubb was in the building testing the fire alarms, which gave me all the excuse I needed to shoot through.

shoot up

1(Especially of a child) grow taller rapidly: when she hit thirteen she shot up to a startling 5 foot 9
More example sentences
  • The torch was lowered but this time instead of the wood slowly catching fire, the wood enflamed rapidly and shot up sky high.
  • Looking at Eric this morning, we both don't think he's grown much in the last couple of weeks; he shot up after the first week but now seems to have stalled.
  • ‘They've got a picture of a nine-month-old baby and got computer graphics to make it look like it's shooting up,’ says Braithwaite, growing louder by the second.
1.1(Of a price or amount) rise suddenly.
Example sentences
  • Then the price suddenly shot up, and the options vested within a few months.
  • I read in the news that milk prices will be shooting up about 50 cents a gallon.
  • Prices have shot up to $40 a barrel and are set to rise further.

shoot someone/something up

1Cause great damage to something by shooting; kill or wound someone by shooting: the police shot up our building
More example sentences
  • You know, they could have shot him up, but it would have damaged forever the shrine, and that was an untenable situation politically in the world.
  • Some lunatic called in saying he will shoot the building up.
  • It's anyone's guess how these people were allowed to show up at the school waving guns, ready to storm inside the building and shoot the place up.
2 (also shoot up) informal Inject a narcotic drug; inject someone with a narcotic drug: she went home and shot up alone in her room I was shooting up cocaine shoot people up with the new chemical and see what happens
More example sentences
  • You only thought you did because they shot you up with drugs back then.
  • Mentally, I tried to tell Father Malachi to shoot me up with more of his drugs.
  • He was also involved in the drug scene, and even shot his roosters up with speed every time he fought them.



Example sentences
  • Overall, I'm pleased with this solid, shootable gun.
  • Amazingly, the gun press reviews I've consulted say that it is a genuinely manageable, shootable gun, the result of excellent design.
  • Both the Model '73 and '92 are grand choices for cowboy shooters, but originals are hard to find in good, shootable condition at a reasonable price.


Old English scēotan, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch scieten and German schiessen, also to sheet1, shot1, and shut.

Words that rhyme with shoot

acute, argute, astute, beaut, Beirut, boot, bruit, brut, brute, Bute, butte, Canute, cheroot, chute, commute, compute, confute, coot, cute, depute, dilute, dispute, flute, galoot, hoot, impute, jute, loot, lute, minute, moot, newt, outshoot, permute, pollute, pursuit, recruit, refute, repute, route, salute, Salyut, scoot, Shute, sloot, snoot, subacute, suit, telecommute, Tonton Macoute, toot, transmute, undershoot, uproot, Ute, volute

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: shoot

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