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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.
Origin of long shot
1785-95 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for long shot
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "Not by a long shot," said Nemesis, or words to that effect.

    The Whirligig of Time Wayland Wells Williams
  • "Not by a long shot," replied Dr. Bird promptly as he rose to his feet.

    The Solar Magnet Sterner St. Paul Meek
  • But if you take me, my father-in-law don't remain in the weaving-room, by a long shot.

    True and Other Stories George Parsons Lathrop
  • It was a long shot, but he could not wait to take deliberate aim; he fired.

    The Doomsman Van Tassel Sutphen
  • It was a long shot, and the missile had nearly spent its force when it hit him.

British Dictionary definitions for long shot

long shot

a competitor, as in a race, considered to be unlikely to win
a bet against heavy odds
an undertaking, guess, or possibility with little chance of success
(films, television) a shot where the camera is or appears to be distant from the object to be photographed
by a long shot, by any means: he still hasn't finished by a long shot
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for long shot

in the figurative sense of "something unlikely," 1867, from long (adj.) + shot (n.). The notion is of a shot at a target from a great distance, thus difficult to make. Cinematic sense is from 1922.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for long shot

long shot


: a long-shot victory

noun phrase

  1. A person, horse, project, etc, that seems not likely to win or succeed; dark horse: But it's a pretty long shot I'm afraid (1869+)
  2. A scene photographed from a distance; a long-range photograph (1940s+)

Related Terms

not by a long shot

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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