shot in the arm


shot in the arm


  • a sudden and encouraging effect on something.
  • a quick enhancement.
  • something that supports, strengthens, revives, or boosts something specifically in a tough situation.
  • something that gives enthusiasm and umph.
  • something that lifts one’s spirits and feelings.
  • a stimulus or a boost.

The idiom “shot in the arm” is a colloquial expression that means a sudden boost of energy, enthusiasm, or confidence. Most individuals use it to describe something that helps someone overcome a challenge or achieve a goal. While the idiom “a shot in the arm” is often used to describe a literal injection, you can use it to describe anything that gives someone a sudden boost of energy.

The phrase has been used to describe mental, emotional, and financial situations that deserve a boost. For instance, if something (like a team, program, or project) lacks enthusiasm, someone might say it needs “a shot in the arm” to motivate and excite others.

Example Sentences

  1. The speech was an absolute shot in the arm for the crew members aboard the ship.
  2. A compliment from the boss is always a shot in the arm.
  3. Getting the scholarship was the shot in the arm she needed to continue her studies.

Origin and History

Language is a living entity, constantly evolving and incorporating new expressions that reflect the cultural nuances of different eras. One such idiom is “a shot in the arm.” This colorful idiom carries a rich backstory and an intriguing journey through time.

The idiom “a shot in the arm” is thought to have originated in the early 20th century, when hypodermic needles were gaining popularity. As a result, people began to use the phrase to describe any event or experience that gave them a sudden boost of energy. The first appearance of the idiom “a shot in the arm” in print is in a 1916 article in the Lewiston Evening Journal. The article revealed that in the upcoming presidential elections, war veterans could give politics “a shot in the arm.” While who coined the idiom remains a mystery, experts believe that the phrase originated in the medical field from injection administration. The medical injection theory suggests that the idiom is connected to military contexts where a shot (injection) in the arm could literally boost soldiers’ stamina.

The idiom “a shot in the arm” is a colloquial expression that has been in use for over 100 years. The idiom is a reminder that sometimes all it takes to overcome a challenge or achieve a goal is a little bit of extra motivation.

Synonyms / Variants

  • stimulus
  • a boost
  • a pick-me-up
  • a boost in the arm

“A pick-me-up” has the same meaning but is slightly more informal, and “a boost” is another phrase used to describe a sudden increase in energy or enthusiasm.

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