phrases, sayings, proverbs and idioms at

The Phrase Finder

Home button Home | Search the website Search | Phrase Dictionary | A shot in the arm

The meaning and origin of the expression: A shot in the arm

Browse phrases beginning with:
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T UV W XYZ Full List

A shot in the arm

What's the meaning of the phrase 'A shot in the arm'?

A stimulus.

What's the origin of the phrase 'A shot in the arm'?

Left quote icon
Most people can remember their first injection.
right quote icon
This expression derives from the invigorating effect of injecting drugs. A shot is of course US slang for an injection, either of a narcotic or medicinal drug. That term has been in use since around the beginning of the 20th century; for example, this piece from the San Francisco Chronicle Supplement, October 1904:

"I varied hardly a minute each day in the time of taking my injection. My first shot was when I awoke in the morning."

A shot in the arm'A shot in the arm' came soon afterwards and the first mention of a figurative use of it in print that I can find is from the Maine newspaper The Lewiston Evening Journal, January 1916:

The vets can give politics a shot in the arm and the political leaders realize it.

See other phrases that were coined in the USA.

Contact | About us | Privacy Policy | Copyright © Gary Martin, 2019