shoot from the hip, to act or speak without due consideration or deliberation.
    shoot off one's mouth/face, Slang.
    1. to talk indiscreetly, especially to reveal confidences, make thoughtless remarks, etc.
    2. to exaggerate: He likes to shoot off his mouth about what a great guy he is.
    shoot one's bolt. bolt1(def 29).
    shoot one's wad. wad1(def 13).
    shoot the breeze. breeze1(def 11).
    shoot the bull. bull3(def 2).
    shoot the works. work(def 55).

Origin of shoot

before 900; Middle English shoten (v.), Old English scēotan; cognate with Dutch schieten, German schiessen, Old Norse skjōta; akin to shot1

Synonyms for shoot Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for shoot for


verb shoots, shooting or shot

(tr) to hit, wound, damage, or kill with a missile discharged from a weapon
to discharge (a missile or missiles) from a weapon
to fire (a weapon) or (of a weapon) to be fired
to send out or be sent out as if from a weaponhe shot questions at her
(intr) to move very rapidly; dart
(tr) to slide or push into or out of a fasteningto shoot a bolt
to emit (a ray of light) or (of a ray of light) to be emitted
(tr) to go or pass quickly over or throughto shoot rapids
(intr) to hunt game with a gun for sport
(tr) to pass over (an area) in hunting game
to extend or cause to extend; project
(tr) to discharge down or as if down a chute
(intr) (of a plant) to produce (buds, branches, etc)
(intr) (of a seed) to germinate
to photograph or record (a sequence, subject, etc)
(tr; usually passive) to variegate or streak, as with colour
sport to hit or propel (the ball, etc) towards the goal
(tr) sport, mainly US and Canadian to score (points, strokes, etc)he shot 72 on the first round
(tr) to plane (a board) to produce a straight edge
(tr) mining to detonate
(tr) to measure the altitude of (a celestial body)
(often foll by up) slang to inject (someone, esp oneself) with (a drug, esp heroin)
shoot a line See line 1 (def. 58)
shoot from the hip to speak bluntly or impulsively without concern for the consequences
shoot one's bolt See bolt 1 (def. 13)
shoot oneself in the foot informal to damage one's own cause inadvertently
shoot one's mouth off slang
  1. to talk indiscreetly
  2. to boast or exaggerate
shoot the breeze See breeze 1 (def. 5)


the act of shooting
the action or motion of something that is shot
the first aerial part of a plant to develop from a germinating seed
any new growth of a plant, such as a bud, young branch, etc
mainly British a meeting or party organized for hunting game with guns
an area or series of coverts and woods where game can be hunted with guns
a steep descent in a stream; rapid
informal a photographic assignment
geology mining a narrow workable vein of ore
obsolete the reach of a shot
the whole shoot slang everything


US and Canadian an exclamation expressing disbelief, scepticism, disgust, disappointment, etc

Word Origin for shoot

Old English sceōtan; related to Old Norse skjōta, Old High German skiozan to shoot, Old Slavonic iskydati to throw out
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 shoot for



Old English sceotan "to hurl missiles, cast; strike, hit, push; run, rush; send forth swiftly; wound with missiles" (class II strong verb; past tense sceat, past participle scoten), from Proto-Germanic *skeutanan (cf. Old Saxon skiotan, Old Norse skjota "to shoot with (a weapon); shoot, launch, push, shove quickly," Old Frisian skiata, Middle Dutch skieten, Dutch schieten, Old High German skiozan, German schießen), from PIE root *skeud- "to shoot, to chase, to throw, to project" (cf. Sanskrit skundate "hastens, makes haste," Old Church Slavonic iskydati "to throw out," Lithuanian skudrus "quick, nimble").

In reference to pool playing, from 1926. Meaning "to strive (for)" is from 1967, American English. Sense of "descend (a river) quickly" is from 1610s. Meaning "to inject by means of a hypodermic needle" is attested from 1914. Meaning "photograph" (especially a movie) is from 1890. As an interjection, an arbitrary euphemistic alteration of shit, it is recorded from 1934. Shoot the breeze "chat" first recorded 1941. Shoot-'em-up (adj.) in reference to violent entertainment (Western movies, etc.) is from 1942. Shoot to kill first attested 1867. Shoot the cat "to vomit" is from 1785. To shoot the moon originally meant "depart by night with ones goods to escape back rent" (1829).

O, 'tis cash makes such crowds to the gin shops roam,
And 'tis cash often causes a rumpus at home ;
'Tis when short of cash people oft shoot the moon ;
And 'tis cash always keeps our pipes in tune.
Cash! cash! &c.

["The Melodist and Mirthful Olio, An Elegant Collection of the Most Popular Songs," vol. IV, London, 1829]



"young branch of a tree or plant," mid-15c., from shoot (v.). Also "heavy, sudden rush of water" (1610s); "artificial channel for water running down" (1707); "conduit for coal, etc." (1844).



1530s, "an act of shooting;" 1852 as "a shooting match or party," from shoot (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

shoot for in Science



The part of a vascular plant that is above ground, including the stem and leaves. The tips of shoots contain the apical meristem.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Idioms and Phrases with shoot for

shoot for

Strive or aim for, as in We're shooting for higher production by spring. This term, alluding to aiming at something with a weapon, has largely replaced the earlier shoot at, which dates from the 1400s.


In addition to the idioms beginning with shoot

  • shoot down
  • shoot for
  • shoot from the hip
  • shoot off one's mouth
  • shoot one's bolt
  • shoot oneself in the foot
  • shoot straight
  • shoot the breeze
  • shoot the works
  • shoot up

also see:

  • like shooting fish in a barrel
  • sure as shooting
  • whole ball of wax (shooting match)

Also see undershot.

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.