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South African “Shot” Slang

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Cory in Newark, Ohio, says that while in South Africa, he heard the exclamation shot! used in an empathetic way to mean “that’s so sweet!” or “bless your heart!” In South Africa, the word can be used to express agreement, and in Australia, the expression “That’s the shot!” expresses approval. In boxing, a skillful punch might be commended with “Oh, shot!” This is part of a complete episode.

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  • There might be some confusion between a few similar words. I am an American living in South Africa, and I had a similar confusion when I first arrived. There is “shot” which is indeed used to express agreement or thanks (e.g. “shot, bru!”) But there’s also “sjoe” (pronounced show) that is used to express sympathy or surprise (e.g. “sjoe, I had no idea she was so sick”). Lastly there is “sharp” (pronounced shahp) that is like a quick thanks, and often doubled (e.g. “sharp sharp;” seems less common among white South Africans). Anyway, it took me a while to realize that they were three distinct words when I first arrived, since the pronunciation is similar.

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