Shit from Shinola: Definition and Examples of this Useful Idiom

Last Updated on March 8, 2020

Have you ever heard someone use the term shit from Shinola? If you have, you might have wondered what the phrase means. We are going to take a look at the meaning of this term as well as looking at some examples of how it can be used in a conversation. We will also find out a little bit about the history of the phrase and where it first came from.

Shit from Shinola

Shit from Shinola Meaning

The term shit from Shinola means to not know something, for example, you might say ‘he doesn’t know shit from Shinola.’

Origin of the idiom

The phrase shit from Shinola comes from the American shoe cleaning product named Shinola. The term can be seen recorded as far back at the very early 1900s when it was written in an advertisement.

“Shit from Shinola” Examples

Examples in Statements

There might be many times in which you hear the term shit from Shinola, here are some examples of sentences in which we see the phrase appear.

The first statement is being made by an employer.

  • That new guy is terrible, he doesn’t know shit from Shinola when it comes to this job.

The next statement is being made from one friend to another.

  • We will go out without Mike, he won’t realise, he’s so thick, he doesn’t know shit from Shinola.

Conversation Examples

If you are curious to see how the term shit from Shinola can work in a day to day conversation, we are now going to look at some examples of what you might hear.

The first is a conversation between two friends.

  • Person 1; “Did you know that John’s wife is having an affair?”
  • Person 2; “Who doesn’t know!”
  • Person 1; “John doesn’t know.”
  • Person 2; “Well he doesn’t know shit from Shinola, he’s in his own little world.”

The next is a conversation which is taking place between a boss and his employee.

  • Person 1; “Do you know how to use this new system?”
  • Person 2; “Are you kidding me? It’s impossible, I’d struggle to know shit from Shinola when it comes to this.”

Other Ways to Say “Shit from Shinola”

There are other ways in which you can say the term shit from Shinola by using different words. Here are some examples of things you might say which carry the same meaning.

  • Doesn’t know shit
  • Hasn’t got a clue

Shit from Shinola | Picture

Shit from ShinolaPin

3 thoughts on “Shit from Shinola: Definition and Examples of this Useful Idiom”

  1. For I, the term from “s**t to shinola” has the same meaning as when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. I take the s**t (negative aspects of life and turn them into constructive aspects that benefit me and or my situation.) That’s what the term “s**t to shinola means to I.
    -Peace Supreme

  2. I would like to know where the term first originated (in what part of the U.S.–the north or the south). I live in Virginia and it was a common line my father used. The Shinola watches are made in Detroit. Did they also make the shoe polish. I would love to see the ad that might have contained the term.


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