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Boomstick vs. Shotgun: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on October 7, 2023
"Boomstick" is a colloquial and informal term often used to refer to a shotgun, while "Shotgun" is the formal and technical term for a smoothbore firearm designed to discharge multiple projectiles with one pull of the trigger.

Key Differences

"Boomstick" is predominantly a colloquial term, often used informally to describe a shotgun. It is characterized by a more playful or informal tone, and it might not be understood in formal or technical discussions about firearms. Conversely, "Shotgun" is the widely recognized, formal term for a specific type of firearm, which is understood in both informal and formal contexts, making it more versatile in discussions regarding firearms. Both terms, while similar in reference, differ significantly in formality and context of use.
"Boomstick" might not be recognized universally, as its usage is more localized and informal. It's a term that may be used in casual conversation, perhaps to add a touch of humor or colloquialism. On the other hand, "Shotgun" is a universally recognized term, and it is used in official documentation, legal contexts, and formal discussions about firearms. Its widespread recognition and formality make "Shotgun" the appropriate term in serious or technical discussions about such weapons.
In usage, "Boomstick" might evoke images of rudimentary or makeshift firearms due to its informal and colloquial tone. It’s often used more in fictional contexts, like movies, games, or literature, to add a stylistic element to the narrative. "Shotgun," being the formal term, is more likely to be associated with actual, specific firearm models and is used to convey accurate, technical information about the weapon, with an emphasis on precision and specificity.
In linguistic terms, "Boomstick" is a compound word, combining "boom," representing the sound of a gunshot, and "stick," referring to the elongated form of the weapon. "Shotgun" is also a compound word, combining "shot," representing the projectiles, and "gun," a general term for firearms. While both words are compounds representing the same object, the elements of each compound word emphasize different aspects of the firearm.

Comparison Chart


Informal and colloquial.
Formal and technical.


May not be universally recognized.
Universally recognized.


Fictional and casual contexts.
All contexts including technical.


Rudimentary or makeshift firearms.
Specific firearm models.

Linguistic Structure

Compound word.
Compound word.

Boomstick and Shotgun Definitions


A playful or informal term for a shotgun used in casual conversation.
The hunter shouldered his boomstick and headed into the woods.


A firearm used in hunting game birds and other small game.
He raised his shotgun, aiming at the flying duck.


A colloquial term for a shotgun.
He brandished his boomstick, ready for the impending zombie attack.


A weapon with a typically shorter range, suitable for close-quarters combat.
The soldier swapped his rifle for a shotgun in the confined space.


An informal reference to a firearm.
He's got a boomstick in his truck for protection.


A term used to specify a type of firearm in formal contexts.
The police report listed a 12-gauge shotgun as the weapon used in the crime.


A term emphasizing the loud noise made by a shotgun.
The boomstick roared, scattering the birds from the trees.


A firearm often used in sporting events like skeet shooting.
She won the competition with her precision with the shotgun.


A term often used in fictional contexts to describe a shotgun.
The hero wielded a mighty boomstick against the forces of evil.


A smoothbore firearm designed to discharge multiple projectiles with one pull of the trigger.
The officer carried a shotgun for added security during the raid.


In logging, any of the larger logs chained together to create a floating boom.


A smoothbore gun that fires shot over short ranges. Also called scattergun.


(slang) Any shotgun, especially a sawn-off version.


(Football) An offensive formation, used especially for passing, in which the quarterback receives the snap several yards behind the line of scrimmage.


Of, relating to, or using a shotgun.


Obtained by or involving coercion
A shotgun compromise.


Covering a wide range in a haphazard or ineffective manner
Shotgun methods of testing the hypothesis that wasted time and money.


Having the rooms joined in a line from front to back
A shotgun house, a shotgun apartment.


To shoot at with a shotgun.


To drink (a can of beer or other beverage) quickly through a hole punched near the bottom of the can.


Used to claim the front passenger seat of a vehicle before a trip has started.


(firearms) A gun which fires loads typically consisting of small metal balls, called shot, from a cartridge.
Meat was cooked up within hours after the hunter killed the deer with his shotgun.


(slang) The front passenger seat in a vehicle, next to the driver; so called because the position of the shotgun-armed guard on a horse-drawn stage-coach, wagon train, or gold transport was next to the driver on a forward-mounted bench seat. Can also be used in situations of claiming other resources such as bedrooms.


A one-story dwelling with no hallways or corridors, with the rooms arranged in a straight line.
Elvis Presley was born in a two-bedroom shotgun in Tupelo, Mississippi.


(American football) An offensive formation in which the quarterback receives the snap at a distance behind the center, often with a running back set to one or both sides of him.


Relating to shotguns, either in a present or past sense.
Shotgun cartridges
Shotgun seat


Relating to the threat of force or dubious means.
Shotgun wedding
Shotgun diplomacy


Relating to the use of numerous, diverse or indiscriminate means to achieve a particular result.
Shotgun marketing
Shotgun approach


To inhale from a pipe or other smoking device, followed shortly by an exhalation into someone else’s mouth.


To verbally lay claim to (something)
I got a day off because I shotgunned it.


To hit the ball directly back at the pitcher.


To rapidly drink a beverage from a can by making a hole in the bottom of the can, placing the hole above one's mouth, and opening the top.


To send out many (requests, answers to a question, etc), especially in the hope that one obtains a positive result (i.e. reveals useful information, is correct, etc), in the manner of a shotgun firing many balls of shot such that one may hit a target.


To employ the technique of shotgun debugging.


A light, smooth-bored gun, often double-barreled, especially designed for firing small shot at short range, and killing small game.


Firearm that is a double-barreled smoothbore shoulder weapon for firing shot at short ranges


Can "Shotgun" have different models and types?

Yes, "Shotgun" can refer to various specific models and types of this firearm.

Is "Boomstick" universally recognized?

No, "Boomstick" may not be universally recognized due to its informal and colloquial nature.

Is "Boomstick" a formal term?

No, "Boomstick" is an informal and colloquial term.

Can "Boomstick" refer to any firearm?

While it usually refers to a shotgun, it could be used informally to describe other firearms.

Is "Shotgun" suitable for use in legal contexts?

Yes, "Shotgun" is the formal and technical term suitable for all contexts including legal ones.

Does "Boomstick" emphasize the sound of the firearm?

Yes, "Boomstick" emphasizes the loud noise or "boom" made by the firearm.

Does "Shotgun" have a specific definition?

Yes, "Shotgun" has a specific definition, referring to a smoothbore firearm designed to discharge multiple projectiles.

Can "Boomstick" be used humorously?

Yes, due to its informal nature, "Boomstick" can be used in a humorous or playful manner.

Is "Shotgun" a compound word?

Yes, "Shotgun" is a compound word combining "shot" and "gun."

Can "Shotgun" refer to a sporting firearm?

Yes, "Shotgun" can refer to firearms used in sporting events like skeet shooting.

Is "Boomstick" a compound word?

Yes, "Boomstick" is a compound word combining "boom" and "stick."

Is "Shotgun" used in official documentation?

Yes, "Shotgun" is the official term used in documentation and formal discussions.

Can "Boomstick" be used in fictional narratives?

Yes, "Boomstick" is often used in fictional contexts like movies, games, or literature.

Is "Shotgun" used in hunting?

Yes, a "Shotgun" is commonly used in hunting game birds and other small game.

Can "Boomstick" and "Shotgun" be used interchangeably?

They can be used interchangeably in informal and casual contexts, but in formal or technical discussions, "Shotgun" is the appropriate term.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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