Green’s Dictionary of Slang

shoot! excl.1

[euph. for shit! excl.]

1. (also shoo! shoot it! shoots!) an excl. of annoyance or surprise.

[US](con. 1861) Rock Island Argus 2 June 3/5: Shoo! a Yanklee spy right yere in this town?
[US]J.L. Williams Princeton Stories 63: He only answered ‘Naw. That don’t amount to anything. Shoot.’.
[US]Fr. Klaeber ‘A Word-List From Minnesota’ in DN IV:i 12: shoot it, v. phr. An exclamation of disgust. ‘Oh, shoot it! I wanted to go.’.
[US]S. Lewis Babbitt (1974) 63: Oh shoot, that’s just because you never tried a sedan.
[US](con. 1917–19) Dos Passos Nineteen Nineteen in USA (1966) 360: Shoot, we can’t go swimming here.
[US]E. Anderson Hungry Men 97: Shoot, you dance keen.
[US]C. McCullers Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1986) 259: ‘Say, have either of you fooled with this?’ ‘Shoot!’ Etta said. ‘What would we want to mess with your junk for?’.
[US]M.H. Boulware Jive and Sl. n.p.: Shoots ... Pshaw.
[US](con. 1944) N. Mailer Naked and Dead 217: Shoot [...] ’taint doin’ you no harm.
[US]J.D. Salinger Catcher in the Rye (1958) 78: ‘Oh, shoot!’ she said. I’d just about broken her heart.
[US]M. Braly Felony Tank (1962) 101: ‘Shoot! How you come on!’ she exclaimed, her voice full of pleased disapproval.
[US]J. Baldwin Blues for Mister Charlie 28: Shoot, I don’t care.
[US]E. Thompson Garden of Sand (1981) 39: You ast them in for some fatback and collard greens an fresh hot corn bread – shoot! They say, ‘Thank you. We just et.’.
[US]J. Lahr Hot to Trot 227: ‘Shoot,’ Maddy says.
[US]J.L. Gwaltney Drylongso 220: Shoot! I works harder than that little young devil.
[US]LaBarge & Holt Sweetwater Gunslinger 201 (1990) 102: Shoot, this duckhead acts like he’s flying blindfold!
[US](con. 1949) G. Pelecanos Big Blowdown (1999) 158: Shoot, boy, you ought to know that.
[US]G. Pelecanos Shame the Devil 54: Shoot, man, why didn’t you win the championship?
[US]Teen Lingo: The Source for Youth Ministry [Internet] shoo A euphemism for ‘shoot.’ Also darn, heck, or many four letter words.
[Aus]L. Redhead Cherry Pie [ebook] ‘Oh shoot. Love to stay and chat but I gotta go get drunk and shag somebody for information’.
[US]T. Dorsey Atomic Lobster 67: Shoot! Of course! We’re going the wrong way!
[Aus]L. Redhead Thrill City [ebook] Oh shoot! [...] I’m late for my panel.

2. (also shoots! shoot me!) a general excl. of intensification, affirmation.

[US]Dos Passos Three Soldiers 50: ‘Lemme out, fellers, I’ve got to puke,’ he said. ‘Shoot,’ he was thinking, ‘I’ll tell ’em the place was closed; they’ll never come to look.’.
[US](con. 1944) N. Mailer Naked and Dead 32: Shoot [...] Ah might as well make one [i.e. a hole] too.
[US](con. 1910s) S. Longstreet Pedlocks (1971) 234: Shoot me! Can I help it if I love an upholstered behind?
[US]T. Southern ‘Red-dirt Marijuana’ in Southern (1973) 9: Shoot, I don’t wantta leave it out there no more.
[US]‘Iceberg Slim’ Mama Black Widow 49: Shoot, Ah wish we git yu an Joe’s luck up here.
[US]A. Young Snakes (1971) 17: Shhhoooot, he was more than just way-out.
[US]Cab Calloway Of Minnie the Moocher and Me 21: Shoot, man, you’re not our father.
[US]‘Joe Bob Briggs’ Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In 16: Shoot, when she looked at me with those big brown eyes [...] something told me I should forgive her.
[UK]K. Lette Llama Parlour 192: Oh, well, shoot, I’m sure he meant to tell you.
[US](con. 1970s) G. Pelecanos King Suckerman (1998) 216: Shoot, man, I just love good music.
[US]College Sl. Research Project (Cal. State Poly. Uni., Pomona) [Internet] Shoots! (interjection) ‘Okay!’, ‘Alright!’, ‘Right on!’.
[US](con. 1986) G. Pelecanos Sweet Forever 83: Shoot, they were just out here having fun.
[UK]Guardian Rev. 23 July 3: It soon became clear he preferred the more sedate version, ‘Shoot!’ He does not really approve of bad language.
[US]W. Shaw Westsiders 202: Oh shoot [...] I was doing a gang of looting.
[US](con. 1990s) in J. Miller One of the Guys 102: ‘I guess what made us a gang was, shoot, I don’t really know’.
[US]G. Pelecanos Night Gardener 110: Shoot, not everyone wanted a six pack.

In exclamations

shoot that hat! (also shoot that dress!)

(US) a mild oath.

[US] ‘English Sl.’ in Eve. Telegram (N.Y.) 9 Dec. 1/5: Let us present a few specimens:– [...] ‘Shoot that hat.’.
[US]Bartlett Dict. Americanisms (4th edn) 585: To say, ‘Shoot that dress,’ is meant to convey the idea that the dress is inferior; that it is not worth very much; or, to use another slang expression, ‘it is no great shakes after all.’.
[UK]Farmer & Henley Sl. and Its Analogues VI 188/1: Shoot that (hat, man—anything)! [...] a mild imprecation, ‘Bother!’ .