shotgun wedding

Idioms & Phrases

Shotgun wedding

An agreement or compromise made through necessity, as in Since neither side won a majority, the coalition government was obviously a shotgun wedding. This expression alludes to a marriage precipitated by a woman's pregnancy, causing her father to point a literal or figurative gun at the responsible man's head. Its figurative use dates from the mid-1900s.

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