[ shit-hohl ]
/ ˈʃɪtˌhoʊl /
Save This Word!

noun Slang: Vulgar.
a terrible, dirty, poor, or low-quality place (often used attributively): I only make minimum wage, so this shithole is the best apartment I can afford. All I ever wanted was to escape my shithole hometown and follow my dreams.
Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of shithole

shit + hole; def. 1 was first recorded in 1620–30 and def. 2 in 1930–35
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does shithole mean?

Shithole is a vulgar slang term for an extremely dirty, disgusting, or otherwise objectionable place. It’s especially used in reference to where people live, from actual places of residences to cities to entire countries.

Where does shithole come from?

Shithole, of course, combines shit, one of the most versatile swear words in the English language, and hole, also added to such vulgarities as asshole.

The word shithole was first recorded in the 1600s, referring to, well, the “anus.” Use of shithole in reference to gross places was first recorded in the 1930s.

How is shithole used in real life?

The word shithole is typically used to describe a place that someone doesn’t like, and you’re sure to spot it all over the internet, from angry Yelp reviews of restaurants to Instagram photos of horrifying hotels.

In January 2018, President Donald Trump notably caused controversy by calling Haiti and some African countries “shithole countries.”


This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.