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shower British informal
a group of people perceived as incompetent or worthless

I think this term is becoming obsolete. It's certainly not something I've heard in the street recently. The first place I encountered it was the 1959 film I'm Alright Jack.

Major Hitchcock: They're a shower. Absolute shower.

According to wiktionary it comes from shower of shit but there is no justification given.

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  • I always thought it was a collective noun for "drip"
    – user91101
    Sep 11, 2014 at 9:11
  • It's definitely not obsolete. It's a common enough expression in Britain.
    – graffe
    Jun 15 at 13:38
  • 1
    I've never heard the word used in this sense in the US.
    – Hot Licks
    Jul 17 at 20:18

3 Answers 3

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No less an authority than Eric Partridge seems to think it probably came from shower of shit. Which is what I usually say on the few occasions I use the expression in any form, though I'd always assumed of shit was a jocular alliteration with some pre-existing meaning of shower.

I don't know for sure if Partridge et al are right, but if they are it puts shower on a par with berk as being more coarse than many speakers realise.

Until I just looked it up there, I'd never come across what he suggests as the "full" original form - shower of shit from Shropshire.

Like berk, shower might not be the latest cool slang, but I think it's in no danger of becoming obsolete. Especially for those who need/want to insult Shropshire folk!

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A little surprisingly, ‘Chambers Slang Dictionary’ gives shower only as Australian slang for a dust-storm. It does, however, have a separate entry for shower of shit with these three definitions:

  1. an unimpressive group of people; occas. an individual. 2. A pile of second-rate things. 3. A term of abuse aimed at a single person.

As alternatives, the entry also provides these delightful terms: shower of cunts, . . . savages, . . . shites, . . . tom tits, . . . whore’s bastards .

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The US has the expression 'shit shower', meaning when all went wrong, or we can label a person or persons as a 'shit shower', meaning they can do abs. nothing right.

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