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
- Example: I 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
- Example: Price cuts won’t be enough: we’re bringing a knife to a gunfight. We need to file a patent-infringement lawsuit.
- Meaning: Something that can be helpful or harmful; something beneficial that also has a downside
- Example: Intelligence can be a double-edged sword. Of course it’s helpful, but it can also make people bored or impatient in large organizations.
- Meaning: Indisputable evidence of a crime
- Example: A photograph showing the legislator meeting with organized crime bosses was the smoking gun.
- 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
- Example: We 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
- Example: Rather 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
- Example: Our competition is running ads accusing us of cheating on product testing. We’ll just have to fight fire with fire.
- Meaning: Use an extreme measure; because extremely angry
- Example: If 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
- Example: Carly 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
- Example: The 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
- Example: We’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.
- Example: There’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
- Example: Passing this quiz will be like shooting fish in a barrel. I’ve studied a lot.
- Meaning: Something with little chance of success
- Example: I know it’s a long shot, but I’m going to ask Amanda to go out with me.
- Meaning: Someone out of control; someone who speaks or acts recklessly
- Example: Jerry’s a loose cannon. Yesterday he insulted our client’s sister, and the day before that he showed up at a sales meeting drunk.
- Meaning: Carry a gun
- Example: The trouble with that neighborhood is that too many people there are packing heat, and if a disagreement erupts it may turn deadly.
- Meaning: An explosive situation, a situation in which people are angry and ready to be violent
- Example: The coup has been suppressed, but the city remains a powder keg.
Shoot from the Hip
- Meaning: Talk or act without consideration
- Example: Sheila 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
- Example: Luis 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
- Example: Barbara was trying to convince us to expand the marketing campaign. But she shot herself in the foot when she criticized her predecessor.
- 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.
- Example: You’d think the job was impossible, but that son of a gun will stick to it until it’s done.
- Meaning: An honest, trustworthy person
- Example: Jim 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.
- Example: Layoffs 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
- Example: You 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?
Weapons Idioms, Sayings and Phrases | Image
Useful Weapons Idioms in English