I have googled around the meaning of "Spray and pray"

I am not still clear about it.

When do people might use this expression?

Any help much appreciated.

  • Any context? I found this.
    – Em.
    Commented Jul 28, 2016 at 6:32

3 Answers 3


This seems to be an idiom derived from military usage meaning amateurish use of automatic weapons. See this Wikipedia article. Literally, to fire bullets without specific aim (spray) and hope that they have the desired effect (pray). The same idea is applied in shoot-em-up gaming, deriding the efforts of unskilled "noobs".

The idiom then is applied to other areas such as marketing, key concept being undirected targeting.


Spray and pray simple means to send out a lot of (whatever it is you're sending out) with the minimal amount of effort possible, and praying to get the desired results.

Doesn't matter whether that's bullets, or email marketing.

The idea being you put in little to no effort lining up worthy targets, instead hoping that by firing at everything your efforts reach the same few worthy targets that you would have done - albeit wasting a lot more bullets/emails than a well-targeted approach.


Television news photographers use this term to describe a method of reporting on various community events. The photographer is present only briefly at the event, and shoots video of the crowd, signs, and a few seconds of a speech or two. The resulting footage can be presented as "B-roll" footage illustrating a spoken report.

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