In a June 18 Free for All letter, Laura Holloway objected to The Post’s use of “shot their wad” as an inappropriate vulgarity.
Too bad. While the phrase may be popularly understood in reference to sexual performance, its origin is thoroughly benign. Like other common phrases that originate from the use of firearms — e.g., “lock, stock and barrel,” “flash in the pan” — the phrase in question signifies an ineffective attempt to fire a charge. In weaponry ranging from a Napoleonic cannon to a modern shotgun, a paper, fiber or plastic wad is used to separate the projectile from the propellant. “Shooting one’s wad” simply means that the charge contains no projectile and is therefore ineffectual.