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The first known usage was 1923.[1] Its use is considered vulgar. It should not be used in professional or polite company.

The word horseshit or horse shit can mean or be used to describe:

  • The feces of the horse; see horse manure. (In this meaning more often spelled as two words)
  • Nonsense, either inaccurate statements spoken out of ignorance rather than deception, or irrelevant statements (which are not necessarily false) spoken to avoid answering a direct question or to divert the conversation. (usually spelled as one word) (slang): see bullshit.
  • Appearance, as in: You look like horseshit. In Kodak Moment Ned Gardner uses "You like horseshit," referring to ones appearance.[2] One would not say you look like bullshit. This is the difference in colloquial use.
  • Expressing how one feels: I feel like horseshit. Again one would not say I feel like bullshit. However one could say I feel like crap.
  • Taste, as in: This beer tastes like horseshit.[3] One could say this beer tastes like crap but would not say this beer tastes like bullshit.
  • Description, horseshit can be used as an adjective to describe a noun. That is horseshit beer.[4]


This word is generally used in a derogatory manner and can be used as a noun or adjective. It is often used to dismiss viewpoints one considers to be absurd. Ie. Two guys discussing relativism and Bubba over hears them and says, "That sounds like a bunch of horseshit."

Usage in media[edit]

Horseshit is used in John McCain: An American Odyssey a book about John McCain on page 17 "Can you believe this antediluvian horseshit?[5]

Robert G. Barrett author of The Boys From Binjiwunyawunya the main protagonist Les Norton was fond of many colloquialisms including "They’re as rare as rocking-horse shit."[6]

Dustin Kurtz used the term several times in his Melville House article How to Lay Off 600 Booksellers: With a Delicious Dollop of Horseshit about the college textbook industry. He states, "Horseshit is not a lie, it is a gift; in place of a lie, the acknowledgement that you don’t even owe your victims an explanation that approaches the truth."[7]


Horsefeathers is another variation U.S. cartoonist Billy De Beck invented in 1928; as another variation of nonsense.[8] Rocking Horseshit is another variation with the irony that it is impossible for an inanimate object to produce feces.[9] It is sometimes expressed as "As rare as rocking horseshit."[10][11]

In everyday language[edit]

Outside of the academic world, among natural speakers of North American English, as an interjection or adjective, horseshit conveys general displeasure, an objection to, or points to unfairness within, some state of affairs. It can be also used to refer to how something appears. For example: That looks like horseshit. In this case, one would not say that looks like bullshit.

Other names[edit]

  • Road apple
  • Horse pie
  • Horsefeathers
  • Rocking Horseshit

See also[edit]




  • Barrett, Robert G. The Boys From Binjiwunyawunya (Pan Macmillan Australia Pty, Limited, 1987) ISBN 0330271652
  • Gardner, Ned Kodak Moment Pg. 213 "You look like horseshit," (iUniverse Books, 2005) ISBN 0-595-36467-5
  • Kurtz, Dustin How to Lay Off 600 Booksellers: with a Delicious Dollop of Horseshit (Melville House 14 NOVEMBER 2013)[1] Retrieved March 4, 2014
  • Timberg, Robert John McCain: An American Odyssey Pg. 17 (Touchstone Books, 1999) ISBN 0-684-86794-X