Etymology
Advertisement

shoot (v.)

Middle English sheten "hasten from place to place; move swiftly; thrust forward; discharge a missile, send an arrow from a bow," from Old English sceotan (class II strong verb; past tense sceat, past participle scoten), "dart forth, go swiftly and suddenly," also "discharge (a missile or weapon);" also, of a person, "go suddenly from place to place;" also transitive "send out or forth with sudden or violent motion; put forth or extend in any direction; strike with anything shot."

This is from Proto-Germanic *skeutanan (source also of 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), often said to be from PIE root *skeud- "to shoot, chase, throw," but Boutkan gives it no IE etymology.

The sense of "dart along" (as pain through the nerves or a meteor in the sky) is by late 13c.; that of "come forth" (as a plant) is by late 15c. As "increase rapidly, grow quickly" by 1530s (often with up (adv.)). By 1690s as "be emitted in rays or flashes" (as light is); by 1530s in weaving, "variegate by interspersing colors."

The general sports sense of "kick, hit, throw etc. toward the goal" is by 1874. In reference to pool playing, by 1926. The meaning "strive (for)" is by 1967, American English. The sense of "descend (a river) quickly" is from 1610s. The slang meaning "to inject by means of a hypodermic needle" is attested by 1914 among addicts. The meaning "to photograph" (especially a movie) is from 1890.

As an interjection, an arbitrary euphemistic alteration of shit, it is recorded by 1934.

Shoot the breeze "chat" is attested by 1938 (as shooting the breeze), perhaps originally U.S. military slang. Shoot to kill is attested from 1867. Slang shoot the cat "vomit" is from 1785.

To shoot the moon formerly meant "depart by night with ones goods to escape back rent" (c. 1823).

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]

Shoot against the moon was used by Massinger  (1634) as a figure of an impossible attempt.

shoot (n.1)

"young branch of a tree or plant," mid-15c., from shoot (v.). Also "heavy, sudden rush of water; a river-fall or rapid," especially one through which a canoe or timber can "shoot" (1610s); "artificial channel for water running down" (1707); "conduit for coal, etc." (1844). In some senses influenced by or confused with chute (n.1).

shoot (n.2)

1530s, "an act of shooting;" 1852 as "a shooting match or party," from shoot (v.). Also perhaps in part from Middle English shote, schote. "place through which an animal passes quickly."

updated on August 27, 2022

Advertisement
Advertisement
Definitions of shoot from WordNet
1
shoot (v.)
hit with a missile from a weapon;
Synonyms: hit / pip
shoot (v.)
kill by firing a missile;
Synonyms: pip
shoot (v.)
fire a shot;
Synonyms: blast
shoot (v.)
make a film or photograph of something;
shoot a movie
Synonyms: film / take
shoot (v.)
send forth suddenly, intensely, swiftly;
shoot a glance
shoot (v.)
run or move very quickly or hastily;
Synonyms: dart / dash / scoot / scud / flash
shoot (v.)
move quickly and violently;
Synonyms: tear / shoot down / charge / buck
shoot (v.)
throw or propel in a specific direction or towards a specific objective;
shoot craps
shoot a golf ball
shoot (v.)
record on photographic film;
Synonyms: photograph / snap
shoot (v.)
emit (as light, flame, or fumes) suddenly and forcefully;
The dragon shot fumes and flames out of its mouth
shoot (v.)
cause a sharp and sudden pain in;
The pain shot up her leg
shoot (v.)
force or drive (a fluid or gas) into by piercing;
Synonyms: inject
shoot (v.)
variegate by interweaving weft threads of different colors;
shoot cloth
shoot (v.)
throw dice, as in a crap game;
shoot (v.)
spend frivolously and unwisely;
Synonyms: fritter / frivol away / dissipate / fritter away / fool / fool away
shoot (v.)
score;
shoot a goal
shoot a basket
shoot (v.)
utter fast and forcefully;
She shot back an answer
shoot (v.)
measure the altitude of by using a sextant;
shoot a star
shoot (v.)
produce buds, branches, or germinate;
Synonyms: spud / germinate / pullulate / bourgeon / burgeon forth / sprout
shoot (v.)
give an injection to;
Synonyms: inject
2
shoot (n.)
a new branch;
shoot (n.)
the act of shooting at targets;
they hold a shoot every weekend during the summer
Etymologies are not definitions. From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.