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Gun, hunting and shooting language that has made it way into poplular Americaculture

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by lowerunit411, Jan 4, 2012.

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  1. lowerunit411

    lowerunit411 Member

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    It is amazing the impact guns, hunting and shooting has had on our culture. They have in many cases always been a part of our heritage. Often these terms are used daily in converstions that have little to do with guns or hunting etc, but whos origins are from that heritage. Some of these have funny meanings in pop culture, far different from their historical origins, and a lot of there terms are hundreds of years old. Kinda cool! Here are some i thought of. What can you add to the list?:
    Lock, stock and barrel: The three basic components that make a complete rifle. The whole. In its entirety. Complete.

    A flash in the pan: On a flintlock, when the priming powder in the pan ignites with a flash, but doesn't ignite the powder charge in the barrel, resulting in a misfire. Uneventful. A disappointment. Short-lived.

    Fizzled out: When a cannon fuse goes out before it reaches the powder charge, thus not firing the cannon. Similar to a flash in the pan. A let down, especially when expecting a big bang.

    A loose cannon: An unsecured cannon on the deck of a ship could cause damage, injury or death when being tossed about in rough seas. Even land cannons needed to be secured when firing because of the recoil causes them to lurch backwards causing damage or injury. Unpredictable, out of control and likely to cause damage.

    A powder keg: Volatile and potentially explosive.

    Short fuse: A short fuse would burn quickly, firing the cannon abruptly. Quick to ignite. Quick tempered.

    Half-cocked: A gun with an exposed hammer in the half-cock position on safe. In the heat of battle, if a gun was carried on half-cock, shouldered and trigger squeezed, it would not fire — a possibly fatal error. Ill prepared.

    Shooting one's mouth off: Outspoken.

    He (or she) must chew gunpowder: Always shooting his (or her) mouth off.

    He's like a loose cannon, always running around half-cocked shooting his mouth off. A combination of the above.

    Not worth the powder to blow it to hell: Junk. Worthless.

    Give 'em both barrels: When pulling both triggers on a double-barreled shotgun to fire both barrels simultaneously. To holding nothing back.

    Loaded for bear: Keeping a heavy powder charge in your rifle when expecting large and dangerous game. Heavily charged with fury and looking for a fight.

    Gunning for someone: Enraged in aggressive pursuit with intent to harm.

    Showdown: In the Old West when two men faced off to settle a dispute by gunfight. A challenge or contest between rivals. A meeting to settle a dispute.
    Shoot yourself in the foot: Self-induced consequences or setback.

    Just shoot me: A cynical way of asking to end one's misery and suffering.

    Shoot from the hip: To quick-draw a handgun from its holster and fire instantaneously, without taking the time to raise the gun and aim. To speak abruptly and tell it like it is.

    A straight shooter: Someone who speaks truthfully.

    Shooting the bull or the breeze: Engaged in conversation. (The High Road version).

    Take a shot at it: Give it a try.

    Shooting for it: To plan for or attempt to attain a goal.

    Shooting for the stars: Aspiring to a lofty goal, although seemingly out of reach.
    ???feel free to add to this.
     
  2. lowerunit411

    lowerunit411 Member

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    That should read American Culture...sorry
     
  3. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    Any one out there know the meaning of "Freezing the ba!!s off a brass monkey", its a clean meaning, get your minds out of the gutter.
     
  4. lowerunit411

    lowerunit411 Member

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    canon balls were stored on decks of ships in brass rings called "monkeys" so they wouldnt shift at sea. when it gets cold things contract. if its cold enough to contract the brass to the point the canon balls roll off its "cold enough to freeze th balls off a brass monkey"......and thats cold (see they do teach you useful stuff at the Naval Academy!)
     
  5. jak67429

    jak67429 Member

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    To freeze to balls off a brass monkey refers to how cannon balls were stored on a ship in a brass rail (called brass monkey) when it got cold the brass contracted faster than the iron cannon balls. So the cannon balls would fall out of the brass rail.
     
  6. jcwit

    jcwit Member

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    More communally known than I realized.
     
  7. lowerunit411

    lowerunit411 Member

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    a couple more:
    Happy Hunting Grounds: Rich land where Native Americans believed their spirits went upon their death. The hereafter. Heaven.

    Shotgun wedding: Refers to when a man gets a woman in the family way, and is escorted to the wedding by her father and brothers with a shotgun (s) pointed at his back. A marriage between a man and a woman with child.

    The whole shootin' match: Complete. Nothing more.
     
  8. dagger dog

    dagger dog Member

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    He has a hair trigger--- easily enraged
    May pop----- cheap or poorly maintained
    Drop the hammer on ----- set off or can't be recalled
     
  9. lowerunit411

    lowerunit411 Member

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    Under the gun: Working at something feverishly like someone was pointing a gun at you to get it done.
     
  10. mdauben

    mdauben Member

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    Shotgun Shack -- A rectangular house so narrow that could be cleared with one shotgun blast.

    Riding Shotgun -- From the practice of an armed guard sitting next to the stagecoach driver.
     
  11. lowerunit411

    lowerunit411 Member

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    shotgun shack...havent heard that in a long time!
     
  12. TheNev

    TheNev Member

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    Can't believe no one has said this one. You hear it all the time.

    Pull the trigger: to set in motion.
     
  13. 357 Terms

    357 Terms Member

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    Bite the bullet?
     
  14. lowerunit411

    lowerunit411 Member

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    Smoking gun: Originated from getting caught holding a smoking gun over a dead body. Evidence of guilt......( on a side note..i own a boat named the Smoking Gun)
     
  15. 357 Terms

    357 Terms Member

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    I have them " in the crosshairs "
     
  16. lowerunit411

    lowerunit411 Member

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    "on target"?
     
  17. 357 Terms

    357 Terms Member

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    Stick to my guns
     
  18. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    I wouldn't classify that one as gun related.

    Shot himself in the foot.-sabotaged himself
     
  19. Derry 1946

    Derry 1946 Member

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    Keep your powder dry. Dry fire. Hang fire. Shooting blanks. Lock and load. Give them the whole nine yards (of belt ammo on a fighter plane).
     
  20. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Member

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    A person noted for honesty and fairness in his or her dealings may be called a "straight shooter." An attempt to accomplish a task, solve a problem, answer a question, etc. may be called "giving it a shot" or "taking a shot at it."
     
  21. woad_yurt

    woad_yurt Member

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    A "flash in the pan" comes and goes quickly without any lasting effect, like when when a flintlock's priming powder doesn't set off the main charge.
     
  22. Derry 1946

    Derry 1946 Member

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    Lock, stock, and barrel.
     
  23. Ed N.

    Ed N. Member

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    "Dodged a bullet" - avoided a severe problem or calamity.

    "Well armed" - well prepared.

    "Outgunned" - overwhelmed by opposition.

    "In the crosshairs" - being the subject of direct opposition.

    "Trigger" (verb) - to initiate an action.

    "Shotgun" - trying many options at once, as in "a shotgun approach."

    "Take a shot" - make an attempt at something.

    "Guns blazing" - energetic action, forceful argument.
     
  24. Tim the student

    Tim the student Member

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    I believe it is from having surgery without anesthesia. Biting helped with pain management, and bullets were available. So, guys would say they were ready to bite the bullet and endure that pain when old sawbones started to take that leg off.
     
  25. Derry 1946

    Derry 1946 Member

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    "Take a blunderbuss approach" (scatter your efforts in many directions, rather than focusing them).
     
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