call the shots


1. be in charge, have control over sth






Check Icon How to Memorize

the boss/captain/supervisor called the shots

Check Icon Analysis

A person who 'calls the shots' is in control or has the authority to make decisions. This expression comes from leaders of armies or in war who literally made decisions on what shots should be fired. The person who calls the shots is in a position of power. This is an idiomatic expression that can be used in social and professional situations. Similar in meaning to 'be in the driving seat'.

Check Icon Social Examples (Basic)

  1. I call the shots around here, said the boss to his employee.
  2. When the coach missed the game through illness, it was his assistant who called the shots. 

Check Icon Professional Examples (Basic)

  1. I prefer the first version of the graphics but at the end of the day, it's the client who calls the shots.
  2. There are a few difficult decisions to be made I'm glad I'm not in the position where I have to call the shots.

Related Links