Poppy said this words to Dan, columnist, about Lilly opinion on Dan. Lilly is Dan's daughter.

Poppy: So a little bird told me you're gonna be syndicated.

Dan: Lilly. They're looking at a bunch of columnists. It's a long shot at best.

  • Have you tried looking up the parts of this expression? If so, add the details to your question and explain what in particular you don't understand. long shot is in the dictionary, and at best is in the dictionary.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 11:38

1 Answer 1


This is an idiomatic expression, originally based on terminology used in betting on horse racing. A “long shot” was a horse that was not believed to have a strong chance of winning the race, and consequently had “long odds”, or a high payoff for a standard bet.

The expression has moved into common usage to indicate that the event being described is considered highly unlikely to come to pass, even when considering the most favorable circumstances. In your example, Dan believes that it is not at all likely that he will become a syndicated columnist.

  • Are you sure about the horse race origin? It seems more likely (and is supported by some online dictionaries) that it derives from the use of guns or even bows and arrows. Shots at a distant target were frequently not successful.
    – AdrianHHH
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 12:44
  • @AdrianHHH - I don't rule out that horse racing got it from target shooting, but the usage in the question is saying, in essence, "Don't bet on it happening", and that is more likely to have come from horse racing, which is more widely known as a gambling sport than is target shooting. Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 12:47

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