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January 23, 2003

Slang of the Week: shoot fish in a barrel (verb phrase)
do something with guaranteed success

slam dunk (usually a verb phrase, used in this example as a noun)
an easy success

Example:
For a woman as beautiful as Rachel, getting a man to buy her a drink was like shooting fish in a barrel. However, men found getting her phone number was not a slam dunk.

Celebrity quote:
"I purposely didn't do the Harry Potter movie because for me, that was shooting ducks in a barrel. It's just a slam dunk. It's just like withdrawing a billion dollars and putting it into your personal bank account. There's no challenge."
-Steven Spielberg

True, it's usually fish in a barrel, but, shooting ducks would be even easier, since they'd float on top of the water. Spielberg may have been combining this expression with the phrase a sitting duck (an easy target) to add emphasis. Or maybe he was just confused.

Though shooting fish in a barrel is not a popular sport, many people have slam dunked. The expression comes from the basketball term meaning to force the ball through the hoop from above. Hit a home run, a similar expression from baseball, can be used to talk about business or sexual success. For more information on that topic, see the Ask AC Archives.

What's new at Slang City?
Take a look at these two movies from the American South and learn about rednecks, tent meetings and double-wides. Steel Magnolias and Sweet Home Alabama in MOVIE QUOTES.