Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

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potshots, crazy birds, and graduate programs

Liz is in my room writing her reaction paper and asked me about "potshot" and i realized that although i used it in my paper i didn't know if (A) it was a legitimate dictionary word and (B) whether it was one word or two, hyphenated or no. So i checked Dictionary.com and apparently it is legitimate (doesn't even have a "Slang" notation or anything) and is spelled one word (two is okay as well but no hyphen). It even has a derivation!
pot·shot also pot shot
1. A random or easy shot.
2. A criticism made without careful thought and aimed at a handy target for attack: reporters taking potshots at the mayor.

[So called because such a shot is fired by a hunter whose main purpose is to get food for the pot.]

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition


n 1: a shot taken at an easy or casual target (as by a pothunter) 2: criticism aimed at an easy target and made without careful consideration; "reporters took potshots at the mayor"

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University


1. One who hunts game for food, ignoring the rules of sport.
2. One who participates in contests simply to win prizes.
3. A person who seeks artifacts from past civilizations for personal use, sometimes by illegal means, without adhering to professional standards of archaeology.

pothunting n.

Source: The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition


n 1: a nonprofessional archeologist 2: someone who participates in contests in order to collect trophies 3: someone who hunts for food (not for sport)

Source: WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University
And moving on to the OED (because what am i if not thorough?)
pot-shot, n.

1. A shot taken at game merely for the purpose of filling the pot for a meal, without regard to skill or the rules of sport (cf. POT-HUNTER 2), and so from any position or point of advantage. Hence transf. A shot aimed at a person or animal that happens to be within easy reach, without giving any chance of self-defence; e.g. at an enemy from ambush. Also, a random blow or punch.

2. fig. a. U.S. A piece of criticism or verbal attack, freq. one which is random or opportunistic. b. A random attempt.

Hence pot-shot v. trans. and intr., to take a pot-shot at (a target), to take pot-shots; pot-shotter; pot-shotting ppl. a. and vbl. n.


1. An opprobrious appellation: ? a sycophant, a parasite: cf. BARNACLE n. 3b. Obs.

2. ‘A sportsman who shoots anything he comes across, having more regard to filling his bag than to the rules which regulate the sport’ (Slang Dict. 1860). Also fig.

3. One who takes part in any contest or competition merely for the sake of winning a prize. (With allusion to POT n.1 1g.)

4. One who finds or obtains objects of archaeological interest or value, esp. by unscientific or illicit methods, and for the purpose of private collection or profit.

So pot-hunting n. and a. (in senses corresponding to 2, 3 and 4 above).

pot, n.1


g. A vessel, generally of silver, given as a prize in athletic sports. Cf. POT-HUNTER 3. Also (slang) applied to any prize so given.
I also really enjoy this:
pot-shot, -shotten, a. (n.2)


‘Shot’ or overpowered by drink; intoxicated.

B. as n. a. A drunken person, a drunkard. b. Drunkenness.

There were birds (swallows, i think) that kept swooping really near my window which was really kinda creepy 'cause there were a lot of them and no real reason for their behavior. And then a lot of them were settling on a phone line across the street and yeah, i've seen The Birds.

I've been doing more grad program research (and getting annoyed with websites that don't offer admissions information in a helpful manner). Most places want a 'critical writing sample' of 10-20 pages. My top choice wants a 20-page one. Much though i ramble and complicate things, my actual papers for school tend to be rather short for whatever reason (which makes me rather nervous about graduate school) and i find myself wishing that Smith English classes other than seminars (hi, the seminar i want is offered in the Spring, after all my grad school applications are due) made us write longer papers, only not really, because there's very little i've done in classes at Smith that i could have written 20 pages on -- and i understand grad programs wanting proof that you can write thoughtful, intelligent, coherent, lengthy, papers since that's what one has to do in grad school, but hi, we're not in grad school yet.

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