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Take pot shots at somebody

To take potshots at somebody is to criticize them. This isnít fair criticism, though. Pot shot means criticism that is rather unfair. The sole objective of taking pot shots at somebody is to make them feel bad.

  • My mother-in-law likes to take pot shots at everything that I do. (= My mother-in-law likes to criticize everything that I do.)
  • He doesnít contribute anything meaningful, but he is very good at taking pot shots at us.
  • Some people are quite fond of taking pot shots at their subordinates.
  • During his speech, the opposition leader took pot shots at the government.

The original meaning of this expression was somewhat different. In British English, the expression take pot shots was used to mean shoot without taking careful aim. Needless to say, a person who takes pot shots is not a skilled shooter. Nowadays, this expression is mainly used to mean criticize.

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