Where the Sun Don't Shine: Definition, Meaning and Origin

Last Updated on
October 2, 2023

The idiom "where the sun don't shine" is a colloquial expression often used to refer to a place that is hidden or not easily accessible. It is most commonly used to describe an unpleasant or undesirable location.

In short:

"Where the sun don't shine" typically refers to a place you wouldn't want to be, either literally or metaphorically.

What Does "Where the Sun Don't Shine" Mean?

Let's delve into the nitty-gritty of what this idiom really means.

  • Most commonly, it refers to a hidden, secluded, or undesirable place.
  • It often emphasizes that something should be hidden or gotten rid of.
  • In some contexts, it may have a more literal meaning, referring to an actual physical place where sunlight does not reach.
  • Interestingly, the idiom can also be used to tell someone off, suggesting they go away to such an undesirable location.

Where Does "Where the Sun Don't Shine" Come From?

The idiom has its roots in the English language and has been used for many years.

Historical Usage

"Stick it where the sun don't shine."

- This phrase gained popularity in the 1970s and was often used as a more polite substitute for harsher phrases.

10 Examples of "Where the Sun Don't Shine" in Sentences

Let's examine some example sentences to understand how this idiom functions in various contexts.

  • You can put those old toys where the sun don't shine.
  • I really don't care where you go, just go where the sun don't shine.
  • If you ask me, they can take their opinions and stick them where the sun don't shine.
  • I found the missing papers in a drawer where the sun don't shine.
  • At the outset, I thought it was an excellent deal, but it turns out to be a place where the sun don't shine.
  • My room is in a part of the house where the sun don't shine, so it's always cold.
  • Adding icing on the cake to an already perfect day, he told his critics exactly where the sun don't shine.
  • I speak from experience when I say that telling someone where the sun don't shine is not always the best solution.
  • When asked for a polite way to express his frustrations, he decided to draw a blank and simply said, "You know where the sun don't shine!"
  • You can bet he'll stash those old comic books where the sun don't shine; that's a given.

Examples of "Where the Sun Don't Shine" in Pop Culture

It's fascinating to see how this idiom has made its way into pop culture.

  • The Sopranos, a popular TV show, has characters that use the phrase.
  • The song "where the sun don't shine" by K. Flay.
  • In the movie Fight Club, a character humorously uses this phrase.
  • In the 1999 film Office Space, a character uses the expression.
  • Comedian George Carlin often used this idiom in his stand-up routines.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "Where the Sun Don't Shine"

If you like to bask in the sun and savor the finer things in life, you might not want to go where the sun don't shine. But if you do, here are some alternatives.

  • Out of sight, out of mind
  • Off the beaten path
  • In a remote location
  • Far from the madding crowd

10 Frequently Asked Questions About "Where the Sun Don't Shine"

  • What does this idiom signify?

The idiom typically refers to a place that is undesirable, hidden, or difficult to access. Depending on the context, it may be used humorously, derisively, or seriously. While often metaphorical, it can also refer to a literal location where sunlight doesn't reach.

  • How did this phrase come into being?

The origin of the phrase is somewhat murky, but it is rooted in the English language and has been in use for many years. It gained considerable popularity in the 1970s and has remained a staple in colloquial English since then.

  • Does popular culture frequently reference the idiom?

Absolutely! The idiom has been used in a variety of contexts in pop culture, including movies like "Fight Club" and "Office Space," TV shows like "The Sopranos," and even in songs. Comedian George Carlin also used this phrase in his stand-up routines.

  • Can you use the phrase in a humorous way?

Yes, the phrase can be deployed humorously, depending on context and tone. It might appear in comedy skits or used in a jesting manner among friends. However, humor is subjective and the phrase could also be interpreted as rude or offensive, depending on the situation.

  • Is using this term generally considered disrespectful?

The phrase can be considered impolite or disrespectful, depending on how and where it's used. If you're directing the phrase at someone in an argument or as a way to dismiss their opinion, it is likely to be viewed as rude.

  • Could you provide an example of how to use this idiom in a sentence?

Certainly! If you're talking about a location that is very remote, you might say: "That cabin is way out in the woods, where the sun don't shine."

  • Does this phrase appear in any well-known songs?

Yes, an example is the song "where the sun don't shine" by K. Flay. The phrase has made its way into various genres of music, often used to convey a sense of a dark or hidden place, either literally or metaphorically.

  • Can you interpret this term literally?

It can, although this is less common. If someone says, "This cave is where the sun don't shine," they mean it quite literally: the sun does not reach into the depths of the cave.

  • Do people commonly translate this phrase into other languages?

The exact phrase may not exist universally, but similar idioms conveying the same idea of an undesirable or hidden place can be found in many languages. However, the cultural nuance and emotional undertones may differ.

  • How do different age groups interpret this idiom?

The understanding of this idiom largely remains consistent across different age groups, but it's worth noting that older generations may be more familiar with it due to its long history in the English language. Younger people may understand it but might consider it somewhat dated or prefer to use newer slang.

Final Thoughts About “Where the Sun Don't Shine”

Idioms have a unique way of adding flair and color to our everyday language. The phrase "where the sun don't shine" is an excellent example of how a seemingly straightforward expression can carry various nuances and connotations, depending on its usage. With its deep roots in the English language and frequent appearances in pop culture, it remains a widely recognized idiom that both young and old understand.

To recap, here's what we've learned about this idiom:

  • It generally refers to a place that is undesirable or hidden.
  • The term originated from colloquial English and became more popular in the 20th century.
  • People often use the idiom for comic effect, but some may consider it disrespectful or rude in certain contexts.
  • Other idioms like "Off the beaten path" and "In the boondocks" can serve as variations of this phrase.
  • It enjoys a wide presence in pop culture, appearing in films, TV shows, and songs.

Idioms are more than just words strung together; they are small windows into the vast landscape of human expression and experience.

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