Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An infallible means of attack or defense.
  • n. A simple remedy for a difficult or intractable problem: "There is no single silver bullet or panacea that will solve all the problems of Bay Area schools” ( San Francisco Chronicle).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A bullet made of silver, usually with reference to the folkloric belief that such bullets are the only weapons which can kill a werewolf.
  • n. Any straightforward solution perceived to have great effectiveness or bring miraculous results.
  • n. A cocktail somewhat like a martini.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a simple guaranteed solution for a difficult problem

Etymologies

From the belief that werewolves could be killed with silver bullets.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

Comments

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  • The metaphor of the silver bullet applies to any straightforward solution perceived to have extreme effectiveness. The phrase typically appears with an expectation that some new technology or practice will easily cure a major prevailing problem.

    The term originates from folklore. Traditionally, the silver bullet is the only kind of bullet for firearms that is effective against a witch, vampire, monster, or a person living a charmed life.
    The best known magical creature which is vulnerable to a silver bullet is a werewolf. The werewolf's vulnerability to silver actually dates back to the legend of The Beast of Gévaudan in which a gigantic Wolf is killed by a person wielding a gun loaded with silver bullets.

    In different traditions, silver is thought to be the metal associated with the moon and with the human soul. It is likely that these associations have contributed to the legend of the silver bullet.

    _Wikipedia

    February 9, 2008