—n. 1. a smoothbore gun for firing small shot to kill birds and small quadrupeds, though often used with buckshot to kill larger animals.
2. Football.an offensive formation, designed primarily for passing situations, in which the backfield is spread out with the quarterback positioned a few yards behind the center and the other backs, as potential pass receivers, positioned as slotbacks or flankers.
3. ride shotgun, a. (formerly) to ride atop a stagecoach as a shotgun-bearing guard.
b. to protect or keep a watchful eye on something: riding shotgun over the nation's economy.
—adj. 1. of, pertaining to, used in, or carried out with a shotgun: a shotgun murder; shotgun pellets. 2. covering a wide area in an irregularly effective manner without concern for details or particulars; tending to be all-inclusive, nonselective, and haphazard; indiscriminate in choice and indifferent to specific results: He favored the shotgun approach in his political attacks. 3. seeking a desired result through the use or inclusion of a wide variety of elements.
4. having all the rooms opening one into the next in a line from front to back: shotgun apartment; shotgun cottage. 5. gained or characterized by coercive methods.