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  1. highly successful and aggressive: a hotshot lawyer; a hotshot account exec.
  2. displaying skill flamboyantly: a hotshot ballplayer.
  3. moving, going, or operating without a stop; fast: a hotshot express.
noun Also hot shot (for defs 4, 6).
  1. an impressively successful or skillful and often vain person.
  2. Railroads. an express freight train.
  3. a firefighter.

Origin of hotshot

First recorded in 1595–1605; hot + shot1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for hotshot


  1. informal an important person or expert, esp when showy
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for hotshot


"important person," 1933; see hot + shot (n.). It earlier meant "fast train" (1925), and "reckless person" (c.1600).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper