Definition of shoo in US English:



  • A word said to frighten or drive away a person or animal.

    • ‘Oh, and if you haven't read the first part, ‘Millie’, shoo!’

verbshooing, shooed, shoos

  • with object and adverbial of direction Make (a person or animal) go away by waving one's arms at them, saying “shoo,” or otherwise acting in a discouraging manner.

    ‘I went to comfort her but she shooed me away’
    • ‘Finally, a March organizer shooed us along the route as we were falling behind.’
    • ‘Maggie doesn't hide her animosity towards her father, and despite her daughters' curiosity, shoos him out as fast as she can.’
    • ‘In the rocks above the flat roofs, I pass a shepherd girl shooing sheep along the mountainside.’
    • ‘Ryan scowled at the young man and shooed him away with a wave of his hand.’
    • ‘She shooed her kids into the play area and came over to sit down on the bench.’
    • ‘My mother would screech at my father for being so easily fooled, but he just shooed me along and I was on my way.’
    • ‘We tried to help them but she just shooed us out of the way and told us she could do it herself.’
    • ‘He said he tried to refute a senior police officer briefing reporters, but he was shooed away by other policemen.’
    • ‘And you've seen barefoot children being shooed out of a shopping mall by security guards.’
    • ‘I spent two years shooing him away and looking at him like he was nuts before I realised he was a drug dealer.’
    • ‘Then I discovered he compensated by eating mostly meat and I shooed him out the door.’
    • ‘He drags on his cigarette and, as if we hadn't been speaking, raises his eyes to the screens and silently shoos me out of his way.’
    • ‘My teacher shooed him away, but in her red eyes we sensed that he wasn't lying.’
    • ‘He shooed the crowds away to give him privacy, then took the Canadian soldier by the arm, led him inside and began washing him off.’
    • ‘The instructor interrupts his advance, shooing him away.’
    • ‘Waving his hand, he shooed us off before returning to bark at the rest of the class to warm-up.’
    • ‘She shoos me out of her nice clean treatment room and I totter off feeling not exactly relaxed.’
    • ‘Policemen shooed us away from near the lake not out of being perverse but because a great big tree had fallen down and blocked the road.’
    • ‘I remember my mother shooing us, silently, into the basement, her grabbing the cast iron skillet and standing to the side of the door.’
    • ‘With a swift and playful push, she shooed Daniel out, promising him to take only ten minutes.’
    go away, depart, leave, take off, get out, get out of my sight
    View synonyms


A natural exclamation: first recorded in late Middle English. The verb use dates from the early 17th century.