Sheesh – Meaning, Origin and Usage

Have you seen something that has caught your attention in an amazing, incredible or sometimes terrible way? The term ‘sheesh’ could be used as an exclamation, comment or hashtag to let people know the context of something. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this term.

Meaning

The term ‘sheesh’ is a common term that is used on the internet as an exclamation of surprise or astonishment. ‘Sheesh’ can also be used to signify awkwardness, or astonished discomfort at something that was shared or seen on the internet.

The term is never used as a plural, as it does not reference one specific thing as nouns would, but functions as a descriptive exclamation.

An exclamation of ‘omg!’ could be said to have a similar context and meaning when it gets used on the internet to signify surprise or amazement at something.

‘Sheesh’ can be used as a comment, a hashtag or as part of a sentence..

The intention of the word is often to point something out, or to exaggerate it in a satirical manner.

Sometimes, sarcastic, mock-amazement can also be indicated by the term.

Example Usage

“We just invited his grandmother over for a game of table tennis and some tea. She’s eighty-five. She won. #sheesh #oldtimers #wow”

“Sheesh! Someone should send Pizza Hut a picture of this. Head office should probably investigate why someone would want to spell out the letters ‘REDRUM’ in pepperoni.”

“Sheesh! Did you have to eat all thirty-seven bags of potato chips? That was supposed to be for everyone on the trip, and there are seven people, Jake. Seven. People.”

“The trip turned out to be worse than we thought. Sheesh, the weather was something to write home about,  but the reception was so bad that nobody could get an email sent.”

Origin

The early use of the exclamation ‘sheesh’ in English is credited to at least 1955, according to Merriam-Webster. Since the start of its use, the term has been used to indicate surprise (or mock surprise) at something.

Comic books (including Mad Magazine) would make regular references to the term, making it a part of pop culture and a quick way to introduce a surprise gag in the middle of a strip.

The etymology of the word ‘sheesh’ traces it back to Hebrew, and perhaps Jewish-influenced or Yiddish-speaking cartoonists of the time might have introduced the term as it was popular in the cartoons of the 50s to 90s.

Urban Dictionary records the term ‘sheesh’ in the early to mid-2000s under several different entries.

Later, the term would become popular elsewhere, including as it was voiced by character Kermit the Frog. This sound byte would later surface on TikTok videos from user @meetjulio, posted over a video of his pet frog (named King Julio).

‘Sheesh’ would soon be introduced back into the mainstream, partially thanks to TikTok.

Phrases Similar to Sheesh

  • Omg!

Phrases Opposite to Sheesh

  • Meh

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Sheesh
  • sheesh
  • Sheesh!

Ways People May Say Sheesh Incorrectly

There are several different ways to use the term ‘sheesh’ the wrong way.

Most of the incorrect ways to use ‘sheesh’ would be to apply it to unrelated content or sentences, where the supposed astonishment being shown by person 1 is irrelevant to the other people.

Like an ‘inside joke’, saying ‘sheesh’ is only an effective technique if the other parties agree or understand why it is being said. ‘Sheesh’ can only make sense to others when there is agreement on what is being reacted to.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Sheesh

The correct way to use the term ‘sheesh’ is to apply it as an exclamation of astonishment or surprise.

The term ‘sheesh’ can apply to something whether or not the intent is sarcastic or genuine. Both uses of the term ‘sheesh’ would be appropriate, but only if other users can agree with the use of the term and what is being reacted to.

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