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[wuhn-shot] /ˈwʌnˌʃɒt/
noun, Also, one shot
a magazine, brochure, or the like that is published only one time, with no subsequent issues intended, usually containing articles and photographs devoted to one topical subject.
a single appearance by a performer, as in a play, motion picture, or television program.
a close-up camera shot of one person.
something occurring, done, used, etc., only once.
occurring, done, etc., only once.
achieved or accomplished with a single try:
a one-shot solution.
Origin of one-shot
1905-10 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for one-shot
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • You can't stop a man with this here little twenty-two, an' it's only a one-shot at that.

    The Boss of Little Arcady Harry Leon Wilson
  • It was only when he opened his mouth that one-shot Braun was in the suit with him.

    One-Shot James Benjamin Blish
  • The fourth is a one-shot hole, which likewise calls for hard hitting.

  • Your intuition for the one-shot gamble was the one thing that bailed us out this time.

    One-Shot James Benjamin Blish
  • On a one-shot gamble of this kind, the 'laws' of chance are no good at all.

    One-Shot James Benjamin Blish
Word Origin and History for one-shot

1907, "achieved in a single attempt" (original reference is to golf), from one + shot (n.). Meaning "happening or of use only once" is from 1937.

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



: He put her in a one-shot whodunit/ Maybe it was a one-shot shakedown


  1. A story or article that appears once, with no sequel (1942+)
  2. Any transaction, event, etc, that occurs only once; one-off: He was doing poetry readings, one-shots (1937+)
  3. A woman who accedes to the sex act once, then refuses repetitions (1950+)
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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