[ hot-shot ]
/ ˈhɒtˌʃɒt /
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See synonyms for: hotshot / hot shots / hotshots on Thesaurus.com

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

First recorded in 1595–1605; hot + shot1

Other definitions for hotshot (2 of 2)

hot shot
[ hot-shot for 1; hot-shot for 2 ]
/ ˈhɒt ˈʃɒt for 1; ˈhɒt ˌʃɒt for 2 /

incandescent shot fired to set enemy ships or buildings on fire.

Origin of hot shot

First recorded in 1595–1605
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does hotshot mean?

A hotshot is someone who’s highly talented and successful in a particular field, especially someone who’s cocky about it.

Hotshot can also be used as an adjective to describe such a person. When it’s used as an adjective, it typically modifies a noun that refers to a person’s profession or position, as in hotshot programmer and hotshot quarterback.

Example: I heard they brought in some hotshot lawyer to take over the case.

Where does hotshot come from?

The first records of hotshot come from the late 1500s. The word originally referred to a hothead, especially one itching to shoot a gun due to anger. Later, the word was used as a slang term for an express train. In the 1920s and 1930s, the term gained popularity as a word for highly skilled athletes or talented people in other professions.

People who are very talented can get a little obnoxious, and this is often what hotshot implies: hotshots are good and they know it. And they’ll let you know it, too—hotshots love to show off their skill. The word is especially applied to young people who have achieved unusual success for their age. It’s especially used in situations in which such a person challenges a person who’s more experienced and more established in a particular field or position. A lot of movies have this exact premise. The hotshot pilot who’s a bit dangerous. The hotshot attorney who’s going to change the system. The hotshot rookie who learns a thing or two from the wily veteran.

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What are some synonyms for hotshot?

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How is hotshot used in real life?

Hotshot is typically used in at least a mildly negative way to imply that such a person is overly confident or maybe isn’t as good as they think they are. It’s most negative when it’s used to address someone directly, as in Let’s see you try to do it, hotshot!

Try using hotshot!

Which of the following people is most likely to be described as a hotshot?

A. a brash attorney who wins every case
B. a cocky young basketball star
C. a whiz-kid programmer who talks a big game and backs it up
D. all of the above

How to use hotshot in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for hotshot

/ (ˈhɒtˌʃɒt) /

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