a stab in the dark

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nuruemp

Member
Spain, Spanish
Hello all,

Is a stab in the dark a synonym of a shot in the dark?

Context:

Of course she said this right in front of Brandee. By our body language, it’s obvious we aren’t dating, so maybe she was taking a stab in the dark? I’m not sure. Besides, that would violate my strict policy of not dating anyone from USC.

Thank you!
 
  • remosfan

    Senior Member
    Canada, English
    Hi,

    nuruemp said:
    Is a stab in the dark a synonym of a shot in the dark?
    I was at first going to say that it looked like a confusion of idioms and that "a shot in the dark" is the correct form, but after googling them, both came up. Am I the only one who thinks "stab in the dark" sounds odd?

    But to answer your question, they would mean the same thing, yes.
     

    la grive solitaire

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    nuruemp said:
    Hello all,

    Is a stab in the dark a synonym of a shot in the dark?

    Context:

    Of course she said this right in front of Brandee. By our body language, it’s obvious we aren’t dating, so maybe she was taking a stab in the dark? I’m not sure. Besides, that would violate my strict policy of not dating anyone from USC.

    Thank you!
    I'd say that they're near-synonyms. A stab in the dark is a wild guess about something unknown; a shot in the dark is a guess about or an attempt to do something unknown in the hope that it will be successful.
     

    lsp

    Senior Member
    NY
    US, English
    i use them and hear them used interchangeably. LGS: the difference you point out is too subtle for me to grasp... :confused:
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    "A stab in the dark" sounds a bit strange to me - and I am inclined to remosfan's view that there is some confusion ... perhaps with "to take a stab at...", which suggests some uncertainty rather than a random guess or try.

    Answering a quiz question about Peter Sellers' films, for example, a shot in the dark would be based on total ignorance but would be the name of a film - any film - Gone with the Wind perhaps:) Taking a stab at it would probably name a film he actually appeared in - or that you THOUGHT he actually appeared in:D

    So perhaps a shot in the dark is a wild guess, a stab in the dark is an inspired guess?
     

    la grive solitaire

    Senior Member
    United States, English
    lsp said:
    i use them and hear them used interchangeably. LGS: the difference you point out is too subtle for me to grasp... :confused:
    I haven't a clue what the new person's name is, but I know he's French and it begins with "F" so I'll take a stab in the dark and guess, "François."

    I didn't have time to rewrite my c.v. to fit all the job descriptions in the paper, but I'll take a shot in the dark and send it out the way it is.

    I know these are lame, but hope they will help. :eek:

    p.s. Yes,"a stab in the dark" sounds strange to me, too.
     

    jacinta

    Senior Member
    USA English
    I haven`t heard "a shot in the dark" used as a verb before.

    We bought a house yesterday, sight unseen. It was a shot in the dark, but it's great! Everything's turned out fine.

    I would use "a stab at it" as a verb.
    Math teacher: Jacinta, would you please complete the equation on the board for us?
    Jacinta: Well, I didn't do my homework but I'll take a stab at it.

    A stab in the dark? Never heard it used, but I would say that the user wants to use it as a verb, so it is a mixture of the two.
     
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