shot put

[ shot-poot ]
/ ˈʃɒt ˈpʊt /
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a field event in which a heavy ball or shot is thrown or put for distance.
a single throw or put of the shot.
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Origin of shot put

First recorded in 1895–1900; shot1 (in the sense “projectile for discharge from a firearm”) + put (in the sense “to throw or cast”)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does shot put mean?

Shot put is a track-and-field event in which athletes try to throw a heavy ball as far as they can.

Competitors in shot put can be called shot-putters.

In shot put, competitors have to put, or throw from the shoulder, a weighted ball called a shot. They must throw the shot using one hand (held above the shoulder) while standing inside a circle that is 7 feet (2 m) wide. The shot is 16 pounds for men and 8.8 pounds for women and is made of brass or iron.

The shot put is one of the “field” events in track and field, which also include other events in which objects are thrown as far as possible, namely discus and javelin. All three are events in the summer Olympic Games (the Summer Games) and are also events in the modern decathlon.

Example: I’m training for the shot put and the discus throw with my track-and-field team.

Where does shot put come from?

The first records of the term shot put come from the late 1800s, when the sport began gaining popularity in the U.K. In shot put, the word shot refers to a ball-like projectile (based on the term referring to the metal balls fired from cannons and older firearms), while the word put specifically means “to throw or cast, especially with a forward motion of the hand when raised close to the shoulder.”

Contests involving throwing stones and other heavy objects as far as possible date back to ancient times. But, in the 1800s, British soldiers began throwing cannonballs as a part of their sports recreation, leading to the use of a weighted ball similar to a cannonball for the shot put. The event was introduced at the first modern Olympic Games in 1896 and has been included in every summer Olympics since. The women’s shot put event was added to the Olympics in 1948.

There are a variety of techniques used by shot-putters, but the most popular (and usually most effective) involves spinning in a circle before throwing. It was developed by Viktor Alexeyev, the coach of shot-putter Aleksandr Baryshnikov, who popularized the technique in the 1970s and used it in his world-record-setting throws. A similar method is used in discus.

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to shot put?

What are some words that share a root or word element with shot put

What are some words that often get used in discussing shot put?

How is shot put used in real life?

Most people are familiar with shot put as a track-and-field event at the Summer Olympics. Due to the heavy weight of the shot, the sport is associated with strength.

Try using shot put!

True or False? 

In shot put, the shot can be thrown underhanded.

How to use shot put in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for shot put

shot put

an athletic event in which contestants hurl or put a heavy metal ball or shot as far as possible
a single put of the shot

Derived forms of shot put

shot-putter, noun
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