Origin of shotten

1175–1225; Middle English, past participle of shoot1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for shotten

Historical Examples of shotten

  • And tell me, ye sons of shotten herrings, wasn't it worth more to save him than the dirty silver?

    Westward Ho!

    Charles Kingsley

  • The horns of some of the Elk have not yet fallen off, and those of others have shotten out to the length of six inches.

    The Journals of Lewis and Clark

    Meriwether Lewis and William Clark

British Dictionary definitions for shotten


  1. (of fish, esp herring) having recently spawned
  2. archaic worthless or undesirable

Word Origin for shotten

C15: from obsolete past participle of shoot
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 shotten

"having shot its spawn," and accordingly of inferior value, mid-15c., past participle adjective from shoot (v.). Originally of fish; applied to persons, with sense of "exhausted by sickness," from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper