As we know, people in current society are more in to the word shit when they get frustrated over something. The real meaning of this word is solid waste from a person's or animal's body according to a dictionary I referred. So I find this word bit awkward to use in daily routine.

Is there any better (less offensive) word to use instead of this when we get frustrated?


4 Answers 4


Many cuss words in English have less offensive counterparts, often with phonetic similarities.

If you want your speech to sound less vulgar and coarse, use the terms on the left instead of the terms in parentheses:

shoot (instead of shit) : Aw, shoot! I left my keys at home!
darn (instead of damn) : Darn! My ball went in the creek again.
gosh darn it (instead of God damn it) : Gosh darn it! How many times have I asked you not to do that?
jeepers creepers (instead of Jesus Christ) : Jeepers creepers! You scared the crap out of me!
frickin’ or freaking (instead of fucking) : There's no freaking way I'm paying that much for this car.

I won't look these all up, but NOAD does say:

jeepers (also jeepers creepers) exclamation informal
used to express surprise or alarm : Jeepers! Do you think she saw?
ORIGIN 1920s: alteration of Jesus

and M-W reports:

fricking often vulgar : damned —used as an intensive
Origin: alteration of frigging, present participle of frig
First Known Use: circa 1936

As for the s-word being used both as an expletive and as a reference to excrement, the word crap has the same dual meaning, and then some. (The word crap can also refer to junk, or even be used as a verb in the game of craps.) Context invariably eliminates any potential confusion about which meaning applies, even when they occur close together:

Aw, crap! I got crap on my shoe.

  • Interestingly, fricking is probably an alteration of frigging, which is often used in the same context. This is a term for masturbating, which meaning was common as recently as 100 years ago.
    – BobRodes
    May 16, 2014 at 16:46
  • My favorite use of the word darn Jan 6, 2017 at 12:38
  • 1
    @BinaryWorrier My favorite is from an episode of Maude (1972–8). “Darn my socks!” “Damn your socks.” Sep 20, 2019 at 17:34

First of all, I think shit is so common that people don't really think it's extremely vulgar anymore. (For example, the cable TV I subscribe to always censors the F-word, but never shit.) However, it can be offensive. I wouldn't expect to hear shit from a child, nor in a typical business meeting. But of course, there are lots of exceptions. All in all, it would depend on what you mean, when and how you say it, and to whom. The context is important, the way you say it is important, and your audience is very important.

I personally don't let it come out unless I'm sure I'm with people who say it to me first. Typically, I use many of its stand-ins instead. In my opinion, we can do just fine without having to say it at all.

If you feel uncomfortable to say shit, but you want to say something anyway, you can try these:

shoot, crap, damn, dang, drat, rats, damn it, dammit, blast, or hell.

Even just simply saying "What?!" could do the job.

If an exclamation in words still makes you feel uncomfortable, you can try other interjections instead. For example,

Argh! - to express your annoyance, anger, or frustration
Grr - to express anger
Humph - to express dislike, disbelief, or annoyance
Eww - to express disgust
Sheesh - to express exasperation or annoyance.

In addition to being used as an exclamation (to express disgust, anger, or annoyance) alone by itself, shit actually has very wide usages. It's used in so many ways. For example,

as a vague noun (Get your shit together!),
a surprise or an anger (When he sees it, he's gonna shit himself.),
to mean trouble (He's in a deep shit.),
to express displeasure or an indifference attitude (Well, I don't give a shit!),
to express negative attitude (What a piece of shit!),
to express positive attitude (The Oregon Trail is the shit.),
to mean bullshit (Are you shitting me?), or
as an emphasis (Sure as shit I survived them all.).

Good news is you don't have to use it if you don't want to. Most of its uses are considered vulgar. I'm sure as hell you can rephrases its phrases to something else more polite yourself. In other words, you don't have to give it a damn. Oh, shoot! I think talking about it too much has some effects on me. Oh, crap! What the heck I'm talking about. Jeez! Argh!

  • 1
    I think you've put a lot of good information into this answer, and I appreciate that; you write a lot of good answers! :) I have to disagree with the statement that it's "so common that people don't really think it's absolutely vulgar anymore" though. I think that is true of the similar word "crap", which some parents don't even teach their kids is a "real" swear word anymore! (Some still do; I'm not saying it's a nice word.) But I think crap isn't really offensive to anyone anymore. I think shit still can often be offensive, and is in a different category than words like crap.
    – WendiKidd
    May 17, 2014 at 2:53
  • Absolutely agree. I think I didn't express my idea good enough the first time. Really, I think I've never said it myself, except for a few someones and myself, and it's not very often. :-) May 17, 2014 at 9:03
  • 2
    I disagree that shit is not considered vulgar anymore. If you said it in a church, people would certainly stare at you. Maybe not extremely vulgar. But I definitely would not advise a non-native speaker to haul out "the S-word" casually. Other than that, the answer gives some excellent alternatives to non-native speakers. (Actually, damn and hell are considered sacrilegious and would also get stares if said in a church.)
    – Ben Kovitz
    Dec 13, 2014 at 13:02
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    Another, very prosaic alternative is simply "Oh no!"
    – Ben Kovitz
    Dec 13, 2014 at 13:03
  • @DamkerngT. my eyebrows crept up almost involuntarily at seeing "damn" and "dammit" on your "inoffensive" list. Ditto "hell". May I recommend an edit? :) Aug 8, 2016 at 19:36

There are many options for that depending upon the situation. The closest I feel is the word damn. It's often used in place of the word sh## and f###. Compared to the latter ones, the former is quite polite.

damn - (informal) a swear word that people use to show that they are annoyed, disappointed, etc.


I would say that "shit" is middle-of-the-road on the scale between mildly offensive and extremely offensive. I would not use it when talking to my employer or dealing with customers.

In American English, a good, minimally offensive substitution is "crap," which can refer to feces, defecation, junk, garbage, a lack of quality, or even another person's possessions in a pejorative manner. You can use "crap" all day long, and no American will get upset, unless you use the word to describe the person with whom you're speaking.

In British English, however, crap is highly offensive. Once when I was visiting an English family, another American kept using the word "crap," and the English hostess got extremely upset.

Perhaps you've heard of the software called "CCleaner"? It was originally called "Crap Cleaner" as it's purpose is to "clean out the unwanted crap from your computer," but the author changed it's name after discovering that it was particularly offensive in some countries.

"Rubbish" is probably a better substitution in British English (but is rarely used in American English). You can describe things as rubbish, you can exclaim, "Rubbish!" in response to a statement which you think is nonsense, however if you stub your toe, shouting "Rubbish!" would be a bit odd.

Another inoffensive substitution for "shit" in American English is "caca," used for feces or filth, but it is very childish. It also happens to be the Spanish word for feces. I'm not sure just how offensive it is in Spanish, or in non-American English, but I once used the word in Germany, while speaking German, and a German who (spoke good English and) had been intensely preparing for a trip to Spain chewed me out for using such "vulgar language."

  • You can also say crud since it's not very vulgar at all. Apr 8, 2019 at 19:52
  • Another alternative would be to say “dad blame it!” I don’t know why, but that alternative always helps me express my frustration without being offensive. Sep 20, 2019 at 16:54

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