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shoot - definition and synonyms


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verb shoot pronunciation in British English /ʃuːt/
Word Forms
present tense
present participleshooting
past tenseshot
past participleshot
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  1. 1
    [intransitive/transitive] to fire a gun

    We were ordered not to shoot until he gave the signal.

    shoot at:

    They were shooting at bottles on a wall.

    shoot (someone) on sight (=to shoot someone as soon as you see them):

    Armed officers had instructions to shoot the kidnapper on sight.

    shoot to kill (=to intend to kill someone when you shoot at them):

    It’s not clear whether they were shooting to kill.

    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      [transitive] used about other weapons that fire things, for example a bow and arrow
    2. b.
      [transitive] to hit someone or something with a bullet from a gun
      shoot someone in the head/leg/stomach etc:

      The man was shot in the head as he left the bar.

      shoot someone dead:

      Two of our officers were shot dead.

      shoot someone at close range (=to be very close to them when you shoot):

      The victim had been shot at close range.

    3. c.
      [intransitive] to hunt animals using guns, or to fire guns for pleasure
  2. 2
    [intransitive/transitive] in sport, to throw or kick a ball in an attempt to score points

    He shot the ball straight at the goalkeeper.

    We were all shouting for him to shoot.

    1. a.
      [transitive] in golf, to get a particular score

      He shot a 68 in yesterday’s competition.

      Synonyms and related words
    2. b.
      [transitive] mainly American to play a particular sport
      shoot baskets/hoops (=to play basketball):

      The kids were in the yard shooting hoops.

      shoot pool:

      Let’s go over to Harry’s and shoot some pool.

  3. 3
    [intransitive] to move very suddenly and quickly
    shoot into/out of/across something:

    The car shot across the road at high speed.

    They could see flames shooting into the air.

    1. a.
      [transitive] to move something quickly and suddenly
      shoot something out/into/across etc:

      She shot an arm out to catch it.

    2. b.
      [transitive] to direct something somewhere suddenly or with a lot of force
      shoot something at someone:

      Journalists were shooting questions at us.

      shoot a look/glance at someone:

      I shot a nervous glance at my partner.

    3. c.
      [intransitive/transitive] informal to happen very suddenly and quickly

      The book has shot straight to the top of the bestseller list.

      shoot to fame/stardom/celebrity:

      an appearance that shot her to stardom overnight

  4. 4
    [intransitive/transitive] to take photographs, or to make a film or video

    All the outdoor scenes were shot on location in Wales.



to fall over forwards so that your face hits the ground or another surface

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the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

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