(V. Dayanand, Nagpur)

This is an expression which is mostly used in informal contexts. A person who calls the shots is the boss; he/she decides what must be done. The individual is in total control of the situation.

Why do you blame me? I wasn’t the person calling the shots.

There are several explanations regarding the origin of this idiom. I will deal with two of them here. According to some scholars, the expression comes from the world of target shooting. A good marksman, before firing his gun, usually informs the audience which target he will be hitting. He also tells them the exact location of the target he is aiming for. Others believe that the expression comes from the game of billiards. In this game, the player announces in advance which ball he is going to be hitting next, and which pocket it will be going into.