shit a brick: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘shit a brick’ mean?

The idiom "shit a brick" means to be extremely surprised or frightened. It is a vulgar expression that exaggerates the intensity of one's reaction.

Idiom Explorer


"Shit a brick" is a common idiom in colloquial American English. It combines the words "shit" and "a brick" to create a figurative expression that is used to convey extreme surprise, shock, or fear. The idiom suggests that the level of astonishment is so intense that it feels as if one's bodily functions might be disrupted, resulting in the involuntary release of feces. The act of defecating a brick is an exaggerated metaphor that vividly depicts the intensity of the emotion being expressed.

The origins of the idiom are uncertain, but it is generally used in informal or casual conversations due to its vulgar nature. Despite its colorful language, the idiom has become a part of everyday conversation for many Americans. It often adds a sense of humor or exaggeration to the conversation.

While "shit a brick" is predominantly used in American English, variations of the expression can be found in other languages and cultures. In British English, for example, a similar idiom is "shit a brick and think you're a wall," which further emphasizes the sense of shock and disbelief.

The idiom "shit a brick" is just one example of the many idiomatic expressions that enrich the English language. These idioms add color, depth, and humor to our communication. They help us express emotions and experiences in a way that simple words cannot achieve. "Shit a brick" is a prime example of how figurative language can be used to convey intense emotions and create a lasting impression on the listener.

Idioms like "shit a brick" are an integral part of our language and culture. They reflect the unique way in which humans communicate and express themselves. They allow us to convey complex emotions and ideas in a concise and relatable manner. Whether it's "shit one's pants," "drop a brick," or "holy shit," idioms continue to evolve and adapt to the changing times and cultural contexts in which they are used.

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Example usage

Examples of how the idiom "shit a brick" can be used in a sentence:

  • When I saw the broken window, I nearly shit a brick.
  • He will shit a brick when he finds out how much the repairs will cost.
  • The teacher's face turned red and she looked like she was about to shit a brick when she saw the students misbehaving.

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