Green’s Dictionary of Slang

shit v.

1. in context of bodily waste.

(a) [mid-16C+] (also beshit) to defecate, also fig; thus shitting n. and adj.

(b) [late 19C] to vomit.

2. [1930s+] (also shit up) to deceive, to bamboozle, to tell lies, to exaggerate; thus phr. I shit you not, I am telling you the truth.

3. [1960s+] (also shite out, shit out) to act in a cowardly manner.

4. [1960s+] to respond dramatically, with alarm, fear, anger, e.g. he’ll shit himself when he hears this!

5. [1960s+] (Aus.) to annoy.

6. [1970s] to stop.

7. [1980s] to do something badly, to fail, to make a mess.

8. [2000s] to frighten.

9. see shit off

Pertaining to defecation, in lit. and fig. uses

In phrases

(I could) shit through the eye of a needle

[late 19C+] a phr. used by someone suffering from diarrhoea; thus eye of a needle n.

not know whether to shit or go blind (v.) (also …whether to pee or go blind, …shit, die, or go blind, …shit or buy gas)

[1950s+] (US) to be utterly stupid, to be totally confused.

shit and wish [18C phr. ‘shit in one hand and wish in the other; see which fills up first’; Bridges’ Homer Travestie (4 edn 1797) offers euph. ‘spit’ for shit]

[20C+] (US black) a general retort to anyone who says ‘I wish...’.

shit dimes and quarters (v.) [dime n. (1) + quarter n. (2c)]

[2000s] (US black/drugs) to excrete bags of drugs after swallowing them when facing a police search.

shit green (v.) [SE green as the image of disturbed stomach, thus emotions] [1960s+] (US)

1. to desire.

2. to be extremely shocked.

3. to be enraged.

4. to be afraid.

shit in high grass (v.)

[20C+] (W.I.) to aim for or reach a higher social class than that to which one was born.

shit in one’s own backyard (v.) (also shit in one’s nest)

[1950s+] (orig. US) to do anything that jeopardizes one’s life by its proximity to one’s personal, social or professional life, e.g. to steal from one’s own workplace, to conduct an affair with an in-law.

shit (in the same place) where one eats (v.)

[1950s+] (orig. US) to commit a crime in one’s own neighbourhood; lit. and fig.

shit on one’s own doorstep (v.) (also shite on one’s own doorstep)

[late 19C+] used of one who foolishly has adulterous affairs within their circle of friends and acquaintances.

shit on the dining room table (v.)

[2000s] (US) to become involved in a sexual relationship with a friend or employee.

shit or bust (v.) (also shit or go blind)

1. [late 19C+] to make a last, desperate gamble; as an excl. of exasperation.

2. attrib. use of sense 1.

shit or get off the pot (v.)

see separate entry.

shit the bed (v.)

[2000s] (US) in fig. use, to make a mess.

shit through one’s nose (v.)

[1980s] (W.I.) to suffer, to be humiliated.

shit through one’s teeth (v.)

1. [late 18C+] (also shit through the teeth) to vomit.

2. [1970s+] (also shit through one’s mouth) to lie blatantly.

that ever shit between two shoes

[2000s] (US black) a general intensifer: ever, of all time.

Pertaining to fear

shit a brick (v.)

see separate entry.

shit (hot) bullets (v.) (also piss bullets) [piss v. (1) + SE bullets]

[1940s+] (US) to be terrified.

shit (in) one’s pants (v.) (also shit (in) one’s breeches, …britches)

[early 19C+] to be terrified or extremely excited; thus pant-shitting adj., terrified .

shit it (v.) (also shite it) [abbr. shit a brick v.]

[1950s+] to be terrified, to act in a cowardly manner.

shit one’s brains out (v.)

[1940s] to be absolutely terrified.

shit one’s load (v.) [load n. (4a)]

[1990s+] to be absolutely terrified.

shit someone up (v.)

[1990s+] to terrify.

shit tacks (v.)

[2000s] (N.Z.) to be very frightened.

Pertaining to lying, deception

do a lot of shitting and one’s pants aren’t down [abbr. bullshit v. (2)]

[1970s] to be talking particularly loudly and foolishly.

don’t shit a shitter (also don’t bullshit a bullshitter)

[1950s+] a phr. meaning one can’t fool someone who deals in fooling others.

would I shit you, you’re my favourite turd (also I wouldn’t shit you, you’re my favourite turd) [turd n. (1)]

[1960s+] (US) an assertion of one’s sincerity, in answer to the previous speaker’s ‘Don’t bullshit me...’.

Pertaining to trouble or ill treatment

shit on (v.)

1. [late 19C+] (also shit (all) over) to abuse, to humiliate; often as past participle shat on adj.

2. [1970s+] to deal with comprehensively.

3. [2000s] to defeat, e.g. in a sporting fixture.

4. [2000s] to talk tediously.

shit on from a great height (v.)

[1920s+] (orig. RAF) to be extremely unpleasant, to make a great deal of trouble for someone else; usu. as past participle, see shat on adj.

General uses

go shit (v.)

[1960s+] (US black) to dismiss.

shit about (v.) (also shit around)

[1940s+] to waste time, to act halfheartedly, to mess around.

shit in (v.)

[1980s+] (N.Z.) to win easily.

shit off (v.) (also shit)

1. [20C+] to annoy, to irritate; thus as adj., annoyed.

2. [1950s+] to run away.

3. to be quiet.

shit out (v.) (also shite out) [1960s+]

1. to behave as a coward, to run away from danger or confrontation.

2. to terrify.

3. to abuse, to scold.

In exclamations

go shit in your hat! (also go crap in your hat! go shit in a pot and duck your head! go shit in your wallet! go spit in your hat! go spit up your trouser leg! shit in it!)

[1940s+] (US) a general excl. of abuse; extended versions are go shit in your hat and pull it down over your ears (and call it curls)!/go crap in your hat, pull it over your head and call it curls!

shit and fall back on it!

[1970s] (N.Z.) an excl. of amazement.

shit in it!

[1940s] be quiet!

shit in your teeth!

[18C–mid-19C] a general excl. of dismissal.

shit me! (also shit me easy! shit on me!)

[1990s+] an excl. of surprise, astonishment, resignation.

shit on you!

[1930s+] (orig. US) a general term of abuse.

shit the bed!

[1990s+] an excl. of surprise.