Shoo In - Meaning, Origin and Usage

Are you looking for a way to describe someone with an advantageous position over others in a competition? If so,. You could say they are a “Shoo-in” to win. This post unpacks the meaning and origin of this expression.


The expression “shoo-in” means to let people know that you have the best chance of receiving an award or achieving success with a goal in your life.

For instance, if someone asks you about a job application you made, you could say you’re a shoo-in because you know the HR manager involved in the hiring process.

It’s a way of saying that you are overly confident of an expected outcome. This confidence typically comes from an unfair advantage you have over the rest of the field.

In the previous example, you have a friend in the company who is willing to hire you over other candidates because of your friendship.

Example Usage

“According to the boss, I’m a shoo-in for the managerial position. All I have to do is ensure my performance appraisal is better this quarter.”

“I’m a shoo-in for class president. All the kids think my campaign is the best, and I can’t wait until my inauguration.”

“He’s a shoo-in for the MVP of the season. This season, no other player has the same amount of points, and they are way behind the curve going into the playoffs.”

“I’m not worried about my college application. My father is on the board, so I’m a shoo-in for next year’s class.”

“His father is the owner of the company. So, he’s a shoo-in for the managing director position when the old man retires.”

“Well, her mother is the National Women’s League leader, so I imagine she’s a shoo-in for the position if she wants it.”


The Oxford Dictionary states that the term “shoo-in” first appears in print in 1928. The term comes out of the horse racing industry where it describes a horse that’s a guaranteed winner in a rigged competition.

According to language experts, the term comes from the word “shoo.” Shoo means to drive an animal or person away using gestures or noises. The term became popular in horse racing culture in the 1930s, and C E Smith used it in his book “Racing Maxims and Methods of Pittsburgh Phil” published in 1908.

“There were many times presumably that ‘Tod’ would win through such manipulations, being ‘shooed in’, as it were”.

However, the rm changed over the years to apply to many different scenarios. Now, the term can apply to nepotism, or people with an advantageous position in competition over the rest of the field.

Phrases Similar to Shoo In

  • Sure thing.
  • Slam dunk.
  • Home run.
  • Blow out win.

Phrases Opposite to Shoo In

  • No chance.
  • Last pick.
  • Guaranteed failure.

What is the Correct Saying?

  • Shoo-in.
  • Shoe in.

Ways People May Say Shoo In Incorrectly

It’s common for people to mis-spell the saying as “shoe-in” but it’s the incorrect spelling of the phrase. However, it’s more common to find people using the incorrect spelling. As a result, we could -perhaps see a change in the official spelling of the expression in the future.

Acceptable Ways to Phrase Shoo In

You can use “shoo-in” to describe any situation where you think you or another person have an advantageous position. The situation could involve you being a shoo-in for a promotion at work, or a shoo-in for nomination as chief speaker at your local toastmasters club.

“Shoo-in” refers to being in the prime selection spot for an event. For instance, you could be a shoo-in for the top pick in the NFL draft. It’s a way of say8ing that you are guaranteed success at a specific competition or event.

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