Take Potshots At | English Idioms

To take potshots at somebody is to criticize them. This isn’t fair criticism, though. Pot shot means criticism that is rather unfair. The sole objective of taking pot shots at somebody is to make them feel bad.

  • My mother-in-law likes to take potshots at everything that I do. (= My mother-in-law likes to criticize everything that I do.)
  • He doesn’t contribute anything meaningful, but he is very good at taking potshots at us.
  • Some people are quite fond of taking pot shots at their subordinates.
  • During his speech, the opposition leader took potshots at the government.

The original meaning of this expression was somewhat different. In British English, the expression take pot shots was used to mean shoot without taking careful aim. Needless to say, a person who takes pot shots is not a skilled shooter. Nowadays, this expression is mainly used to mean criticize.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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