Parting Shot – Idiom, Meaning and Origin

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Candace Osmond

Candace Osmond studied Advanced Writing & Editing Essentials at MHC. She’s been an International and USA TODAY Bestselling Author for over a decade. And she’s worked as an Editor for several mid-sized publications. Candace has a keen eye for content editing and a high degree of expertise in Fiction.

Parting shot means a final remark or action, usually a cutting or bitter one, made just before leaving a situation. Imagine leaving a room with a mic drop but replacing the mic with a dagger-like comment. That’s a parting shot!

Idioms like this one are phrases where the words together have a different meaning than their individual definitions. But why do idioms matter in English? It’s because they elevate our words with easy-to-understand metaphors and make for better communication.

Want to master the art of the parting shot? In this short breakdown, I go over the deeper meaning, its military origin, and its usage in sentences, so keep reading!

Parting Shot Meaning Explained

Parting Shot – Idiom Meaning and Origin

A parting shot is your last word or action in any given situation, usually one that’s meant to leave a lasting impression. A similar term we use today is “the last word” or “the final say.” It’s the verbal equivalent of a diva’s grand exit. Only instead of glitter, you’re sprinkling a bit of shade. You go, girl!

Parting Shot Origin and Etymology

Parting Shot Ngram
Parting shot usage trend.

The term originally comes from military contexts, referring to a shot fired by a retreating army. It was used in 1818 when John McLeod wrote, “The consort, firing a parting shot, bore up round the north end of the island, and escaped,” A Narrative of a Voyage to The Yellow Sea. But this was in a more literal sense.

The phrase parting shot was eventually used metaphorically, like in 1828 with the Religious Society of Friends, “I think it would be much more becoming… if you could separate without giving each other a parting shot.”

Synonyms for Parting Shot

Feeling verbose? Here are some alternatives for parting shot.

  • Last word
  • Final say
  • Swan song
  • Exit line
  • Zinger

Using Parting Shot in Sentence Examples

Parting Shot – Idiom Meaning and Origin 1

  • Her parting shot toward her coworker was as bitter as her coffee.
  • As he left the meeting, he delivered a parting shot that left everyone speechless for the rest of the day.
  • “Well, this was fun,” she said, her voice dripping with irony as she gave her parting shot to the poor date.
  • The coach’s parting shot was a sarcastic comment about the team’s performance.
  • Her exit email ended with a parting shot about the company’s lack of vision.
  • My ex just couldn’t resist the opportunity for a parting shot as he walked out the door.
  • The comedian’s parting shot about parenting and eating had the audience roaring with laughter.
  • “You’ll regret this,” he muttered, giving his parting shot before hanging up the phone.
  • As she turned to leave, she threw a parting shot over her shoulder, “See you never.”
  • His parting shot was a scathing critique of the entire project.

Final Words on Parting Shot

The idiom parting shot is an impactful tool when you want to describe the last laugh, the final word, etc. Just like a well-placed remark, idioms can turn a boring sentence into something memorable and relatable. Ready for more? I hope so! I have so many idioms to share with you right here on our site!