How to Really Use the Word SHIT: What Most English Learners Don’t Know

screenshot-2017-01-08-19-21-49Is your English a piece of shit right now, or would you say that your English is the shit? A lot of people don’t really give a shit about their studies while others tend to study the shit out of English. How about you?

WARNING: All of these following words and expressions could be considered offensive and very rude depending on how you say them, and who you say them to. Make sure that you use these words only when you are 100% sure that they are appropriate and will not offend anyone.

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Is your English good enough that you know how and when to use such a versatile word like shit?

You have probably heard native speakers using this word in so many different ways and contexts, but have never considered that this “bad” word could actually be very playful and even have positive connotations.

That’s right, although the word “shit” is definitely a swear word [a strong word which is rude and offensive] and should not be used in front of sensitive, or more “respectable” people, it can be a really fun and entertaining addition to your vocabulary.

I’m sure that you will be very surprised at how many different ways we use the word shit in English, and by the end of this article you are really going to know your shit.

With all of that said, let’s begin.

Shit (original meaning)

  • (vb) to deficate; to poop
    Conjugation – Shit / Shit / Shit (informal conjugation is  shit/shat/shat)
    Ex –  The cat shit in the kitchen / The cat shat in the kitchen
  • (n) feces
    Ex – Hey, there is some cat shit on the kitchen floor
  • (adj) something that is really bad and of no quality
    Ex – He is a shitty football player

The Shit

The opposite of the adjective shit, when you say that something is “the shit” it means that it is of very high quality.

  • Man, this band is the shit. I really love their music
  • This restaurant is the shit, they have the best spring rolls

To know your shit (about something)

To have extended knowledge about a particular subject or topic.

  • That girl really knows her shit about motorcycles
  • If you want to work here you have to know your shit

A piece of shit

When referring to a person, a piece of shit is someone who has no morals and takes advantage of someone. If you use this expression to talk about an object a piece of equipment, it means that it doesn’t work very well, or not as you had expected.

  • How’s the new car?  – Oh, it’s a piece of shit. I’ve had to take it to the mechanic several times.
  • That guy just stole that woman’s purse! – Somebody stop that piece of shit!

A shit stirrer

A person who manipulates situations in order to cause problems, or arguments, amongst other people.

  • He keeps asking me about my ex-girlfriend. – Yeah, he’s a shit stirrer.
  • Stop telling people rumors, you’re such a shit stirrer!

My/Your/His/Her Shit

A very generalized way to talk about your possessions

  • Hey, where can I put all my shit? –  Just throw it on the floor. (shit = luggage)
  • Do you mind getting your shit out of my car? (shit = random objects)

A crock/load of shit

Something that is a lie and holds no truth.

  • Do you know that I’m dating Megan Fox? – What a crock of shit!
  • Everything that guy says is a load of shit.

Full of shit

This expression is commonly used to say that a person is always telling lies and over exaggerates stories. We are describing the person with this expression, not the content of what they are saying, like a crock of shit (above).

  • There’s no way you said that to your boss, you are so full of shit!
  • He said he won the lottery, but I think he’s full of shit.

Be in deep Shit

If you are in deep shit it means that you are in a lot of trouble. This can be financial trouble, professional trouble, or trouble in your personal life.

  • Shit! If I don’t pay them their money today, I’m gonna be in deep shit.
  • He is in some deep shit because his boss saw him stealing office supplies.

Good shit

You can use this expression when you are referring to something consumable that is of really high quality, good taste, and potency. Most of the time people will use this when talking about food, drinks, and even drugs.

  • Wow, have you tried the coffee? This is good shit. (referring to the strength and quality of the coffee)
  • The weed dealer told Bob that he has the good shit! (the potency of the drug)

Get your shit together

To organize your life in a more appropriate way, or to organize and gather your things in a tidy fashion. This is commonly used as advice from a person who cares for you, or as an order from someone who has authority over you.

  • Bob decided to stop doing drugs and start getting his shit together. (organize his life better)
  • Our bus leaves in 30 minutes, get your shit together! (organize your luggage or bags)

Scare the shit out of someone

The act of making someone really scared.

  • Oh my god, that gunshot just scared the shit out of me!
  • Cockroaches scare the shit out of my friend Lucy.

Be scared shitless / Scare someone shitless

To experience a really strong feeling of fear, or to inflict this fear onto someone else. This is very similar to scare the shit out of someone.

  • I was scared shitless when I went bungee jumping
  • She scared me shitless when she jumped out at me from around the corner

To get shit faced

To be in a non-human state after excessive amounts of alcohol.

  • Did you see Bob at the party last night? He was shit faced!
  • I haven’t been out for a long time, I’m going to get shit faced tonight!

(verb) shit out of someone/something

The verb in this expression is interchangeable and it means that you did that action with extreme dedication and extreme force. It is used to say that you did that action more than a normal person would do it.

  • I washed the shit out of this t-shirt and it still isn’t clean. (washed the shirt with extreme force)
  • Anderson silva beat the shit out of his last opponent. (he punched him more than necessary)

Give someone the shits

To irritate someone in a repetitive way, or a type of food that gives your diarrhea.

  • The way that my boss speaks to me really gives me the shits. (irritates)
  • That spring roll I ate gave me the shits. (diarrhea)

No shit

This expression can be used to show that you are really impresses with what someone has to say, but it’s often used ironically to show that person that you already knew that information.

  • Guess what! I just saw a guy eat a whole pizza in 2 minutes! – No shit! (impressed)
  • Did you know that Michael Jackson died? – No shit. (ironic because most people know this)

Don't-give-a-shitNot give a shit

To show that you have no interest in a subject.

  • I don’t give a shit who wins the world cup!
  • I told him it was a great opportunity but he didn’t give a shit.

Shit a brick

To be very frightened or worried about something

  • I shit a brick when I heard that the water was contaminated.
  • He’s going to shit a brick when he sees the spider in his bed.

Tough shit

A way of telling a person that there is nothing that they can do to change the situation. A more polite way to say this would be, too bad.

  • Bob said he was going to give me a ride to work but he forgot about me. – Tough shit.
  • I just lost my job. – Tough shit.

Up shit creek

This expression is an abbreviated version of the expression to be up shit creek without a paddle. Shit creek is a metaphor for an unpleasant situation. Being stuck in shit creek with no paddle means that there is no way to get out of that bad situation.

  • How’s your marriage going Bob? – Up shit creek. (he’s stuck in a bad situation)
  • My car broke down in the middle of the dessert and I don’t have any food or water. – Looks like you are up shit creek my friend.

When the shit hits the fan

The point of time when some kind of scandal or negative situation goes from being bad to becoming totally chaotic.

  • The shit really hit the fan when she found out what her boyfriend was really doing all weekend.
  • If my boss knew what I was doing the shit would hit the fan.

Shit happens

To accept that sometimes bad things happen in life and there’s nothing you can do to change it.

  • Someone just stole your motorcycle! – Oh well, shit happens, you have insurance.
  • You’ll get fired if you say that to your boss. I don’t care, shit happens.

Holy shit

A non-religious exclamation to show that you are shocked or surprised about what is happening at the moment, or what someone is doing.

  • Holy shit!! Did you just see that

Shit for brains

Used to describe a person who is not very intelligent and probably very careless in what they are doing.

  • That shit for brains Bob will never get it right.
  • He just left his car in neutral at the top of a hill. – What a shit for brains thing to do.

bear-shitting-in-woodsDoes a bear shit in the woods?

You can use this phrase to suggest that what someone asks you is obvious. This is used ironically to show the person that their question was actually quite silly.

  • Are you going to the party this weekend? Does a bear shit in the woods? Of course I’m going!

Shoot the shit

To chat with a friend or an acquaintance about unimportant matters but in a pleasant and relaxing environment.

  • Me and Bob are going to go down to the pub to shoot the shit a little, do you want to come?
  • I was just shooting the shit with a work mate and I found out that Bob is getting fired.

A shit list

A mental list of people who have done something bad to you recently or have annoyed you in some way. You don’t want to hang out with anyone that’s on your shit list.

  • I’ve been on Bob’s shit list ever since I told him that I hate his football team.
  • Say that again and I’ll put you on my shit list!

Shit or get off the can

Something that you say when you want someone to make a decision and take action without any more delay.

  • You always say that you want to end your relationship but you never do. Shit or get of the can man!

Shit out of luck

When you have no more luck and nothing can change that. You can abbreviate this to S.O.L., even in conversation. Also, a more polite/appropriate way of saying this (like a child might say, or with your parents) is “sore out of luck.”

  • The tickets have all sold out and I really want to go to the show. – It seems like you are shit out of luck my friend!
  • Sorry, you’re S.O.L., I just finished the rest of the ice cream.

Now you know your shit!

Now that you understand that the often labeled “bad word” shit can actually have fun and positive meanings, it’s time for you to “shit or get off the can” and start adding all these new expressions to your vocabulary (try using anki to help you with this).

Just remember to be careful if you are in a formal situation or around conservative people because they may find this style of speaking a little rude. But, if you don’t give a shit, use the shit out of this word and you’ll be having a lot of fun with all your English speaking friends.

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  • […] –Example: Man, where’s the can, I need to go shit. […]

  • Tim Lyle says:

    This list is Bullshit! (not really, but how can you forget bullshit)

    • Loomy says:

      Are you Shitting me? I usually can’t remember Shit but it’s Bullshit they forgot Bullshit!

  • Scott says:

    What about a shit sandwich?

  • shityshitster says:

    Add : Shit Sandwitch
    shit Faced
    Shit for brains

    • Agnieszka from RealLife English says:

      Soon we can make a whole dictionary! 😉 Thank you for the update!

  • Tom says:

    Also missed shit hot, great article tho

  • JarJerJirJorJur says:

    S.O.S. (Shit on a Shingle)- Creamed chipped beef served over toast. A classic American military dish originating around World War II that was cheap, easy to make, very filling, and included ingredients soldiers didn’t have to worry about spoiling

  • Raimonds Kaļenskis says:

    Thank guys, very useful thing

    • Thomas Muller says:

      We’re glad it was helpful for you, Raimonds! Thanks for learning with us!