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Shoo In

Posted by Bruce Kahl on August 01, 2000

In Reply to: Shoe in posted by Graham on August 01, 2000

: I'm looking for the derivation of the term "shoe in" as in "He's a shoe in for the job."

: Thanks!

"Shoo in" was originally a racetrack term, and was is applied to a horse expected to easily win a race, and, by extension, to any contestant expected to win an easy victory. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first use of the term in print dates back to 1928. A "shoo in" was originally a horse that was expected to win a race, not by virtue of its speed or endurance, but because the race was fixed. The sardonic "subtext" of the original usage, now lost, was that the designated horse would win even if it were so lackadaisical in its performance that it simply wandered somehow up to the finish line and had to be "shooed in" to victory.