can't hit the broad side of a barn

Slang Dictionary

can't hit the (broad) side of a barn definition


  1. tv.
    cannot aim something accurately. : You're way off. You couldn't hit the broad side of a barn.
Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions by Richard A. Spears.Fourth Edition.
Copyright 2007. Published by McGraw-Hill Education.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

can't hit the broad side of a barn

Have very poor aim. For example, That rookie can't hit the broad side of a barn, let alone strike anyone out or, as put in The New Republic (February 19, 1990): "Their missiles couldn't hit the broad side of a barn." This hyperbolic term, dating from the mid-1800s, at first denoted poor marksmanship. Around 1900 it also began to be used in baseball, for a pitcher with poor aim.

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