Shoot the breeze

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Shoot the breeze is an idiom that originated in the United States. An idiom is a figure of speech that is a word, group of words or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. We will examine the meaning of the expression shoot the breeze, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

To shoot the breeze means to chat about inconsequential manners, to converse casually in order to pass the time or simply entertain each other. Related terms are shoots the breeze, shot the breeze, shooting the breeze. The idiom shoot the breeze came into use in the early to mid-1900s in the United States. A breeze is a light wind, but at one time, it was a slang term for rumor. This may have something to do with the origin of the phrase shoot the breeze. Empty chatter often involves repeating rumors and gossip.


“Gyppo Ale Mill hopes to be a place the community of Southern Humboldt gathers to love, to laugh, to shoot the breeze and to enjoy one another.” (Eureka Times Standard)

But, of course, that’s a good thing to be able to do when you want to shoot the breeze with Ole Joe Radin on the St. George Marina fishing pier. (The Crossville Chronicle)

“They don’t get to talk to each other very often in a social setting, if ever, so to sit around and shoot the breeze, I have always found helpful and I know they do as well.” (The Australian)

At a boxing match in Lake Tahoe, California, some 30 years or so ago, the late pioneer heart surgeon Dr. J. Stanford “Stan” Shelby and his sons, now Drs. Chris and Brian Shelby were sitting, shooting the breeze and laughing with a bunch of guys in the bleachers — as guys are wont to do. (Shreveport Times)