In my language we have separate words to chase off each (common) animal, like "tchibe" for dogs, "sheetz" for cats, and "ish" for birds. I can think of only one corresponding word in English: one time I saw Marge from "The Simpsons" telling her cat to "shoo". Is that the word I'm looking for? Could you use it as a mildly insulting slang (more fun than insulting) to address another person?

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    It'd be a help to know which language you have. ;) – hjpotter92 Apr 7 '13 at 16:57

Shoo works for animals and people. It is, as you suggested, mildly insulting to tell a person to shoo. When telling a person to shoo, there is usually another form of telling them to go away accompanied with it:

Shoo! Go away!

If using it in a more playful manner, you could say:

Shoo! Go on, shoo!

Which is accompanied by the "go away" hand gesture (the opposite of "come here"). The hand gesture is not required.

Alternatives that could be used:

  • Go away
  • Leave me alone
  • Be gone (uncommon)
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    In addition to "shoo", I find a hissing noise or "psst" to work well for cats, and coupling that with the "go away" hand gesture, would work for people, but might be less well accepted as a jest. Neither of these is acceptable in formal situations! – TecBrat Jun 13 '13 at 17:09
  • shoo is not used with people usually in English. Maybe kids..... – Lambie Nov 9 '19 at 19:47

Shoo is adequate, but you could also use:

Go away!: used to drive away unwanted or annoying people, animals, etc.

And probably it could be applied for people (e.g. asking someone unwanted to leave).

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Besides the general "shoo" there is also "scat" which is only used for cats.

Also, you could use "git", "scoot", "scram", and "skedaddle", although those are probably more for troublesome humans, often children.

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  • nohat, are those more common in certain regions than others? Apart from shoo, they are not used in the UK. – Tristan Jan 28 '14 at 14:01

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