Background: Native English speaker here. I grew up in India, but have lived most of my life in the United States. My fellow Americans often comment upon "Britishisms" in my usage. For example, I tend to spell the color "grey" rather than "gray", and I use "quite good" to mean "satisfactory, or perhaps better" rather than "excellent".

The sitch: Today I told a friend that I "wasn't all that shot in the head" about a particular book. My friend, US born and raised, said he'd never heard the expression before and asked what it meant. I explained that it meant that I didn't find the book all that engaging and wouldn't be enthusiastic about it. My friend and I then proceeded to google the expression, but a search for "shot in the head" merely brings up page after depressing page about school shootings.

The question: is "not shot in the head" a common expression to express lack of enthusiasm? I've used it on occasion before, including in conversation with my late spouse, and heretofore have never had to explain it to anyone. But the fact that I couldn't find any relevant results on the Goog (not even when I looked at ngrams) is leading me to wonder whether the idiom actually exists. An actual source (textual or video) where this expression is used would constitute great evidence, but I'd settle for an answer like "yes, my grandmother from New Zealand used to say it".

If this question is met by resounding silence (or a chorus of "never heard it ever" in the comments), I'll assume that I must have misheard something years ago and have been perpetrating a catachresis for much of my life. Thanks!

  • phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/55/messages/336.html
    – Kris
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 8:07
  • @Kris This link is already included in my answer...
    – Spagirl
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 8:19
  • @Spagirl It doesn't answer the Q, so mine is only a comment. I read you answer after my research.
    – Kris
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 8:20
  • 1
    Never heard the phrase before. (Native BrE speaker from SE England.)
    – AndyT
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 8:44
  • Definitely not a Britishism, could it be an Indianism?
    – BoldBen
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 22:31

1 Answer 1


It doesn’t seem to be common in written use, but it has left a few traces online:

‘Kryptoroxx’ in this Ultimateyota forum writes, in 2014:

I am considering leaving the bottom piece out as I am planning sliders and I'm not shot in the head about drilling that far down on the body.

‘Kryptoroxx’ appears to be based in Michigan.

It is also discussed in this short thread at Phrasefinder in 2007 but they quickly divert to discussing song lyrics with no conclusion on origin of the phrase.

  • It's not quite an idiom but a (common enough) phrase.
    – Kris
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 8:10
  • @Kris If you have evidence of its use other than the two I’ve cited, one of which you repeated in your comment on the question, please feel free to either link them so that I can incorporate them in my answer, or of course, post your own. Cheers
    – Spagirl
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 8:22
  • @Kris, what's the difference between "an idiom" and "a phrase" in this context? Insofar as "not shot in the head" has "a meaning that cannot be derived from the conjoined meanings of its elements" (that quotation is from the Merriam-Webster definition of "idiom"), it's an idiom, yes?
    – verbose
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 16:21
  • @Spagirl thanks for tracking down that Kryptoroxx quote. It's exactly what I was looking for. I spent a large chunk of my misspent youth in Northern Indiana, close to the Michigan border, and I'm wondering whether this usage is something I picked up there. The PhraseFinder discussion was interesting too; I liked the connection between this expression and "a kick in the head" made by a commentator there. Finally, it occurs to me that I've only ever heard and used it negatively (i.e., I'ven't ever said I was shot in the head about something I like), so I edited the question header accordingly.
    – verbose
    Commented Sep 4, 2018 at 16:24

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