Is it like the expression "shoot somebody a glance" in that it means to smile at someone briefly? I couldn't really find a dictionary explanation, but I've definitely seen the phrase before. Thanks in advance!

  • You should include specific references (links would be good) to the dictionaries you looked in to avoid having this question get closed.
    – Laurel
    Mar 17, 2018 at 15:18
  • like in "some enchanted evening"?
    – lbf
    Mar 17, 2018 at 15:40

4 Answers 4


To shoot:

to direct suddenly or swiftly:

  • Shoot the spotlight on the doorway. He shot a smile at his wife.



to cast

a look/glance/smile [transitive] cast (somebody) something to look, smile, etc. in a particular direction. "She cast a welcoming smile in his direction."


It is similar to the phrase "flash a smile" which compares a smile to a photograph or beam of light that triggers positive response from the target, except “shoot somebody a smile” includes an aiming component that will sometimes imply the ability to stun/paralyze/["smite"-slang] the target.


The association of ideas is with gunfire.

If a firearm is discharged, the firing of a single shot is an extremely brief event. Shooting a smile at someone is a way of saying that the smile has an equally brief duration -- and often is used to suggest that it may have also an equally great impact (although not in a literal sense).

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