by a long shot

long shot

a horse, team, etc., that has little chance of winning and carries long odds.
an attempt or undertaking that offers much but in which there is little chance for success.
Movies, Television. a camera shot taken at a relatively great distance from the subject and permitting a broad view of a scene. Compare closeup ( def 2 ), medium shot.
by a long shot, by any means; by a measurable degree: They haven't finished by a long shot.

1785–95 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
long shot
1.  a competitor, as in a race, considered to be unlikely to win
2.  a bet against heavy odds
3.  an undertaking, guess, or possibility with little chance of success
4.  films, television a shot where the camera is or appears to be distant from the object to be photographed
5.  by a long shot by any means: he still hasn't finished by a long shot

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

long shot
in the figurative sense of "something unlikely," 1867, from long + shot. The notion is of a shot at a target from a great distance, thus difficult to make.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

by a long shot

see under long shot.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Idioms & Phrases
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