verb (used with object), pot·ted, pot·ting.

verb (used without object), pot·ted, pot·ting.

Informal. to take a potshot; shoot.


    go to pot, to become ruined; deteriorate: With no one to care for it, the lovely old garden went to pot.
    sweeten the pot. sweeten(def 8).

Origin of pot

1150–1200; Middle English pott (see potter1); cognate with Dutch, Low German pot (perhaps > French pot)
Related formspot·like, adjective



noun Slang.

Origin of pot

1935–40, Americanism; said to be a shortening of Mexican Spanish potiguaya or potaguaya, apparently contraction of potación de guaya wine or brandy in which marijuana buds have been steeped (literally, drink of grief)



noun Scot. and North England.

a deep hole; pit.

Origin of pot

1325–75; Middle English; perhaps identical with pot1



Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pot

Contemporary Examples of pot

Historical Examples of pot

British Dictionary definitions for pot




a container made of earthenware, glass, or similar material; usually round and deep, often having a handle and lid, used for cooking and other domestic purposes
short for flowerpot, teapot
the amount that a pot will hold; potful
a chamber pot, esp a small one designed for a baby or toddler
a handmade piece of pottery
a large mug or tankard, as for beer
Australian any of various measures used for serving beer
informal a cup or trophy, esp of silver, awarded as a prize in a competition
the money or stakes in the pool in gambling games, esp poker
(often plural) informal a large amount, esp of money
a wicker trap for catching fish, esp crustaceansa lobster pot
billiards snooker a shot by which a ball is pocketed
mainly British short for chimneypot
US informal a joint fund created by a group of individuals or enterprises and drawn upon by them for specified purposes
hunting See pot shot
go to pot to go to ruin; deteriorate

verb pots, potting or potted (mainly tr)

to set (a plant) in a flowerpot to grow
to put or preserve (goods, meat, etc) in a pot
to cook (food) in a pot
to shoot (game) for food rather than for sport
to shoot (game birds or animals) while they are on the ground or immobile rather than flying or running
(also intr) to shoot casually or without careful aim at (an animal, etc)
to sit (a baby or toddler) on a chamber pot
(also intr) to shape clay as a potter
billiards snooker to pocket (a ball)
informal to capture or win; secure
See also pot on

Word Origin for pot

Late Old English pott, from Medieval Latin pottus (unattested), perhaps from Latin pōtus a drink; compare Middle Low German pot, Old Norse pottr




  1. Scot and Northern English dialecta deep hole or pothole
  2. (capital when part of a name)Pen-y-Ghent Pot

Word Origin for pot

C14: perhaps identical with pot 1 but possibly of Scandinavian origin; compare Swedish dialect putt water hole, pit




slang cannabis used as a drug in any form, such as leaves (marijuana or hemp) or resin (hashish)

Word Origin for pot

C20: perhaps shortened from Mexican Indian potiguaya




informal short for potentiometer
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 pot

"vessel," from late Old English pott and Old French pot "pot, container, mortar" (also in erotic senses), both from a general Low Germanic (cf. Old Frisian pott, Middle Dutch pot) and Romanic word from Vulgar Latin *pottus, of uncertain origin, said by Barnhart and OED to be unconnected to Late Latin potus "drinking cup." Celtic forms are said to be borrowed from English and French.

Slang meaning "large sum of money staked on a bet" is attested from 1823. Pot roast is from 1881; phrase go to pot (16c.) suggests cooking. In phrases, the pot calls the kettle black-arse is from c.1700; shit or get off the pot is traced by Partridge to Canadian armed forces in World War II.


"marijuana," 1938, probably a shortened form of Mexican Spanish potiguaya "marijuana leaves."


"to put in a pot," 1610s, from pot (n.1). Related: Potted; potting. Earlier it meant "to drink from a pot" (1590s).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with pot


In addition to the idiom beginning with pot

  • pot calling the kettle black, the

also see:

  • fish or cut bait (shit or get off the pot)
  • go to pot
  • hit the jackpot
  • sweeten the kitty (pot)
  • take potluck
  • tempest in a teapot
  • watched pot never boils
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.