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25+ Useful Weapons Idioms, Sayings and Phrases


Weapons Idioms, Sayings and Phrases! Learn useful weapons idioms in English with meaning, ESL picture and examples.

Weapons Idioms, Sayings and Phrases

25+ Weapons Idioms in English

  • Bite the Bullet
  • Bringing a Knife to a Gunfight
  • Double-Edged Sword
  • Smoking Gun
  • Dead Eye
  • Dodge a Bullet
  • Fall on One’s Sword
  • Fight Fire with Fire
  • Go Nuclear
  • Go Off Half-Cocked
  • In the Crosshairs (Cross Hairs)
  • Jump the Gun
  • Keep Your Powder Dry
  • Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel
  • Long Shot
  • Loose Cannon
  • Pack Heat
  • Powder Keg
  • Shoot from the Hip
  • Shoot Off One’s Mouth
  • Shoot Oneself In The Foot
  • Silver Bullet
  • Son of a Gun
  • Straight Arrow
  • Sword of Damocles
  • Twist the Knife (in Deeper)

Weapons Idioms with Meaning and Examples

Bite the Bullet

  • Meaning: To do something even though it involves pain, discomfort, or difficulty
  • ExampleI guess I might as well bite the bullet and go and talk to the boss about my failure. I’ll have to do it sooner or later.

Bringing a Knife to a Gunfight

  • Meaning: Underequipped or unprepared
  • ExamplePrice cuts won’t be enough: we’re bringing a knife to a gunfight. We need to file a patent-infringement lawsuit.

Double-Edged Sword

  • Meaning: Something that can be helpful or harmful; something beneficial that also has a downside
  • ExampleIntelligence can be a double-edged sword. Of course it’s helpful, but it can also make people bored or impatient in large organizations.

Smoking Gun

  • Meaning: Indisputable evidence of a crime
  • ExampleA photograph showing the legislator meeting with organized crime bosses was the smoking gun.

Dead Eye

  • Meaning: A good shooter, a good marksman
  • Example: Virgil is a dead eye. He learned his skills in the army.

Dodge a Bullet

  • Meaning: To narrowly escape disaster
  • ExampleWe dodged a bullet tonight. We sold too many tickets for the play, but some people didn’t show up.

Fall on One’s Sword

  • Meaning: To accept blame; to sacrifice oneself
  • ExampleRather than trying to deflect blame to her subordinates, the boss fell on her sword and admitted the fiasco was her idea.

Note: This expression is of biblical origin.

Fight Fire with Fire

  • Meaning: Use the same measures that are being used against you, even if they’re stronger than you would usually use
  • ExampleOur competition is running ads accusing us of cheating on product testing. We’ll just have to fight fire with fire.

Go Nuclear

  • Meaning: Use an extreme measure; because extremely angry
  • ExampleIf they try to dump more goods in our market, we’ll go nuclear on them and totally shut down the trade negotiations.

Go Off Half-Cocked

  • Meaning: To say or something prematurely, with a negative effect
  • ExampleCarly is smart, but she’s terrible in meetings—she tends to go off half-cocked and say really angry things when it’s not necessary at all.

In the Crosshairs (Cross Hairs)

  • Meaning: Targeted for blame or criticism
  • ExampleThe president has been in the crosshairs of labor leaders since the new restrictions on strikes were introduced.

Jump the Gun

  • Meaning: Start doing something too soon
  • ExampleWe’re ready to introduce the new model, but don’t jump the gun—the boss wants to keep it a secret until the official release date.

Keep Your Powder Dry

  • Meaning: Do not attack until you are ready.
  • ExampleThere’s no point in launching the ad campaign while everyone’s out of town. Let’s keep our powder dry and wait until the campaign is in full swing.

Like Shooting Fish in a Barrel

  • Meaning: Very easy
  • ExamplePassing this quiz will be like shooting fish in a barrel. I’ve studied a lot.

Long Shot

  • Meaning: Something with little chance of success
  • ExampleI know it’s a long shot, but I’m going to ask Amanda to go out with me.

Loose Cannon

  • Meaning: Someone out of control; someone who speaks or acts recklessly
  • ExampleJerry’s a loose cannon. Yesterday he insulted our client’s sister, and the day before that he showed up at a sales meeting drunk.

Pack Heat

  • Meaning: Carry a gun
  • ExampleThe trouble with that neighborhood is that too many people there are packing heat, and if a disagreement erupts it may turn deadly.

Powder Keg

  • Meaning: An explosive situation, a situation in which people are angry and ready to be violent
  • ExampleThe coup has been suppressed, but the city remains a powder keg.

Shoot from the Hip

  • Meaning: Talk or act without consideration
  • ExampleSheila will often shoot from the hip, but at least you know what she’s really thinking.

Note: This idiom often has a unique mixture of negative and positive, as in the example.

Shoot Off One’s Mouth

  • Meaning: Talk without considering one’s words
  • ExampleLuis is very smart, but he has a tendency to shoot off his mouth. I wish he would think more about what he says.

Shoot Oneself In The Foot

  • Meaning: Do something that damages oneself or one’s own cause
  • ExampleBarbara was trying to convince us to expand the marketing campaign. But she shot herself in the foot when she criticized her predecessor.

Silver Bullet

  • Meaning: Something simple that resolves a difficult problem
  • Example: There’s no silver bullet for our economic problems. We’re going to have to endure several years of austerity.

Note: You can also say “magic bullet.”

Son of a Gun

  • Meaning: 1) A rogue. 2) An exclamation of surprise.
  • ExampleYou’d think the job was impossible, but that son of a gun will stick to it until it’s done.

Note: This often has an affectionate or admiring flavor, as in the example. It may also be used disparagingly, as a euphemism for “son of a bitch.”

Straight Arrow

  • Meaning: An honest, trustworthy person
  • ExampleJim is a straight arrow. If he says there’s nothing wrong with the car, you can depend on that.

Sword of Damocles

  • Meaning: Something that causes a feeling of constant threat.
  • ExampleLayoffs have been a sword of Damocles at this company for so long that most people are already looking for new jobs.

Note: This idiom comes from an ancient Greek tale about a sword suspended by a single hair. It’s often used with the phrase “hanging over.”

Twist the Knife (in Deeper)

  • Meaning: Make someone’s suffering worse
  • ExampleYou knew Amber just broke up with Steven. Why did you have to twist the knife in deeper by telling her he was going out with Courtney?

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Useful Weapons Idioms in English

Weapons Idioms

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