I often see "No shit!" in different contexts and wonder if it has only one specific meaning or different meanings in various contexts? I know that it's slang and informal.

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    How about adding some of those various contexts? – user3169 Sep 1 '17 at 5:53
  • @user3169 I'd have to rewatch the films. – SovereignSun Sep 1 '17 at 5:57
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    I would rather say that it has no actual meaning -- it's used to amplify a particular impression or state of mind, but what that is you have to determine from context. There are many similar amplifiers, from single words like "wow!" or "golly!" to long, colorful phrases, many of which are unique to a particular dialect. – Andrew Sep 1 '17 at 6:58
  • I agree that no shit is mostly just used for amplification, but I believe it also does have a basic meaning, which might be, "I hear you" or "You're not full of shit." And phrases like "wow" and "gee whiz" and "no shit" all have slightly different origins and connotations and patterns for usage. – Ringo Sep 1 '17 at 8:18

In my experience, No shit! has two main usages.

The first is to express sincere wonderment. It is usually in response to something surprising that someone has just said. For example:

John: I just won $100 from this lottery ticket!

Jane: No shit!

It can be used to convey negative emotions as well:

John: I just got a $500 speeding ticket!

Jane: No shit!

The second usage is to express insincere wonderment. In this case, No shit! is a sarcastic response to something the person finds obvious:

John: If you stare at the sun, you'll probably go blind.

Jane: No shit!

This sarcastic meaning is worth mentioning, because it's probably used as often as the sincere meaning, if not more often.

Along these same lines, you might occasionally hear No shit! when someone thinks the other person is not being honest. Again, the response is entirely pat and sarcastic.

John: Barack Obama just called to say he'll be stopping by for tea.

Jane: No shit!

And note that the person telling the lie may have no idea whether the response is sincere or sarcastic:

John: I'm driving this Honda because my Lamborghini is at the repair shop.

Jane: No shit!

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    Jesus, this "No shit!" thing is really wide! – SovereignSun Sep 1 '17 at 6:36
  • I wonder if the meaning has anything to do with the phrase itself. Almost any expression can be spoken seriously or ironically, with only subtle differences in intonation. You could replace "no shit" with "well knock me over with a feather" in any of the above examples without changing the meaning. – Andrew Sep 1 '17 at 6:55
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    The sarcastic usage is the only one I've ever heard here in Britain, though I've heard the non-sarcastic version in American movies. – rjpond Sep 1 '17 at 7:28
  • You left out the literal meaning. John: What did you find in that outhouse? Jane: No shit! It didn't smell too bad in there at all. They must have just cleaned it. – J.R. Sep 1 '17 at 13:14
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    @Andrew I think you're right to a point, but I do think these terms do have slightly different meanings and usages. I think "No shit" is so commonly used sarcastically that it's worth examining in and of itself. Take a word like "Golly!" That word was popular in the 40's and 50's and has its origin in being a placeholder for "god" and meant to prevent people from taking the Lord's name in vain. Sure, you might be able to replace no shit with golly, but my opinion is it changes the meaning and tone of the sentences. – Ringo Sep 1 '17 at 16:33

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