The context:

You can't protect your dental health just by "damage control" and don't be satisfied with just a one-shot treatment. It is advisable to make efforts toward preventive maintenance so as to keep your dental health in good condition.

(From an unofficial answer of Kyoto University's entrance exam in 2005)

I know this means an effective attempt which can be used only once. However, lexico says this is only used by North American. Also, I need a little more formal but not obsolete expression which means the same. Is there any more common expression which has the similar meaning?

1 Answer 1


As Lexico says one shot is "mainly North American", but it is well known in the rest of the native English spearing world. As for bring obsolete, what evidence do you have of that? It is still used from time to time, "one shot glue" for example.
Again, from Lexico an alternative word would be single.

... don't be satisfied with [just / only] a single treatment...

One shot obviously comes from the days of muzzle loading weapons when you literally only had one chance of shooting your game / enemy before they were long gone / in your face before you could reload.

  • I know the origin of "one shot" and I didn't intend to say it is obsolete (I'm sorry for my poor English), but is this word formal enough to use in business?
    – ra1ned
    Commented Aug 6, 2022 at 11:01
  • 1
    The usage certainly isn't becoming "obsolete". See this chart (for AmE usage) showing that it's become far more common in the last few decades. But see also this BrE usage chart. Being less fascinated by firearms, Brits are much more likely to use one-off instead of one-shot in such contexts. Commented Aug 6, 2022 at 12:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .