- a wedding occasioned or precipitated by pregnancy.
- Informal. a compromise, merger, accord, etc., occasioned by necessity: The coalition government was obviously a shotgun wedding.
- informal a wedding into which one or both partners are coerced, usually because the woman is pregnant
An agreement or compromise made through necessity, as in Since neither side won a majority, the coalition government was obviously a shotgun wedding. This expression alludes to a marriage precipitated by a woman’s pregnancy, causing her father to point a literal or figurative gun at the responsible man’s head. Its figurative use dates from the mid-1900s.