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The term drive-by is increasingly used as an adjective in many different circumstances. We will examine the meaning of the word drive-by, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Drive-by is an adjective that describes something done in a hurried manner, something done on the run or in a careless fashion. The term drive-by came into use in the 1970s-1980s, primarily to describe murders performed by shooting from a moving car or drive-by shootings. The term drive-by has slowly come to be used to describe other things that occur in a hurried, careless manner such as drive-by journalism or drive-by healthcare. Drive-by is primarily an American term, though it is spreading quickly. Note that the term drive-by, when used as an adjective, is properly spelled with a hyphen.


Authorities still don’t know the motive for a drive-by shooting more than two years ago, during which an occupied car was peppered with bullets, a prosecutor said Wednesday. (The Calgary Sun)

Three suspects in a South Knoxville drive-by shooting have been captured following a fiery car crash during their attempted escape, according to records. (The Knoxville News Sentinel)

Such drive-by attempts signal that national media isn’t grappling with its mistakes in any sustained way. (The Columbia Journalism Review)

That’s not even a solution for Labour, given it was the BBC’s fact-based reporting in general (and arguably Andrew Neil’s in particular) that coolly allowed millions to see the spy story for what it was, let alone a solution for the ordinary citizens trashed in casual drive-by journalism over the years. (The Guardian)

Normally soft-spoken , Martin criticized the magazine in December for unfairly tarnishing the school’s image with “drive-by journalism,” hurting innocent people, and setting back efforts to prevent sexual assaults. (The Richmond Times-Dispatch)