Posted by ESC on April 14, 2003

In Reply to: Potshots posted by TheFallen on April 14, 2003

: : Does anyone know the origins of the phrase taking pot shots (or is it taking pop shots)? Any help would be great, Thanks, Dan.

: This from he American Heritage Dictionary Online:


: VARIANT FORMS: also pot shot

: 1. A random or easy shot.
: 2. A criticism made without careful thought and aimed at a handy target for attack: reporters taking potshots at the mayor.

: ETYMOLOGY: So called because such a shot is fired by a hunter whose main purpose is to get food for the pot.

POTSHOT - "A 'potshot' was originally 'a shot for the pot,' that is, a shot taken at an animal in order to fill the dinner pot, without any regard for rules and from any distance, no matter how close. The earlier 'pothunter,' first recorded in 1781, suggested the word which came to mean, in both military and civilian use, a shot aimed at somebody within easy reach, without giving the person any chance to defend himself, as in an ambush. An abbreviation is 'to pot' somebody." From Encyclopedia of Word and Phrase Origins by Robert Hendrickson (Facts on File, New York, 1997).