Orrin Hatch just schooled the internet on the meaning of ‘shot their wad’

Hey! It doesn't mean what you think it does.
Image: REX/Shutterstock

A Republican senator just used the term “shot their wad” and, um, the internet has some opinions.

“Were not going back to health care. Were in tax now,” Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah told Politico. “As far as Im concerned, they shot their wad on health care and thats the way it is. Im sick of it.”

People on Twitter, predictably, had an absolute field day … even though Hatch claims the phrase doesn’t mean what you think it does.

It goes on, and on, and on.

Of course, when the story first came out, many people thought the phrase “shot their wad” had sexual undertones. Slate pointed out that it can be slang for ejaculating.


But no, that’s definitely not what he was talking about, Hatch said. And with a bit of humor, he made it clear on Twitter.

… here’s a valuable jargon lesson on ‘wads’ and the shooting of them

“As few of you were alive during the Civil War, here’s a valuable jargon lesson on ‘wads’ and the shooting of them,” he wrote, while sharing a screenshot of the definition of “wads” and “to shoot one’s wad.”

Turns out, “to shoot one’s wad” also means “to do all that one can do.”

And the meaning of “wads?”

“A plug of tow, cloth, etc., a disk of felt or cardboard, to retain the powder and shot in position in charging a gun or cartridge.”

Yeah, looks like the modern usage of the phrase doesn’t really match up with the original. We’ll just assume Hatch is old-fashioned and wanted to give everyone a history lesson.

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