Language is well and truly alive, and no evidence is greater than realizing how new meanings are assigned to already existing words and new words being formed, seemingly out of the blue. “I’m shook” is one of those words that come to mind. While it can be said the idiom has reached the peak of its popularity thanks to social media, its history is a lot longer than that.
What does “I’m shook” mean?
“I’m shook” means to be surprised or startled. It is used when people come to an unexpected yet sudden realization. This basically means that it is said as an exclamation, a reaction to a sort of surprise that leave you confused or speechless. That being said, “I’m shook” can also mean that you are worried, scared or concerned about something.
Where does “I’m shook” originate from?
In order to ascertain its origin, we first have to dissect “I’m shook”. The verb ‘shake’ features prominently. To shake means to vibrate or to move. This can mean the ground or a structure. Additionally, it could also mean the quick movement an object has from one side to another or down and up.
The thirds meaning of shake, is to significantly affect a person’s composure by either astonishing or shocking them. It is from this definition that the phrase “I’m shook” is derived from.
Now, what’s interesting about this phrase is that it uses the past tense “shook”, rather than the past participle “shaken”. While most slangs derived utilize correct grammar, “I’m shook” does not. When a verb is used as an adjective, it is always the past participle used. For instance;
He claimed to be a risen god
The sentence above has “risen” as an adjective which modifies the noun “god”. Moreover, risen is the past participle.
If we were to rewrite the sentence above using just the past tense like “I’m shook” does, what we would get is
He claimed to be a rose god
This sounds wrong. Using a past participle ensures that sentence doesn’t have a particular time, whereas using just the past tense highlights a single time period in the past.
The past participle focuses on the action that could have occurred at any time, and it is for this reason that we normally use it as an adjective.
“I’m shook” does not follow any typical conventions as the verb used is in past tense rather than past participle. It is this aspect that is the idiomatic aspect of the expression. This is perhaps one of the very instances that a verb in past tense form is used as an adjective. It also highlights the setting where “I’m shook” would be most welcome and that is an informal setting.
4 examples of how to use “I’m shook” in a sentence
Using “I’m shook” to mean you are shocked or insulted
In this instance, you are conveying the fact that an event or some information you just processed has you feeling insulted or shocked. For example:
Person A: Did you eat all that pizza by yourself?
Person B: Yeah, I did man.
Person A: I’m shook
Boyfriend: You ate that extremely quickly…
Girlfriend: Wait, did you just call me a pig? I’m shook.
Using “I’m shook” to mean you are worried or immensely scared about something
In this instance, when you say “I’m shook” it means that you are worried or scared. This instance usually follows the realization of something significant looming in your life. For instance:
Person A: How are you feeling about your presentation today?
Person B: In all honesty, I’m shook.
Person A: Are you ready for the fight champ?
Person B: sigh… I’m shook.
“I know it’s just a shot and really I have nothing to worry about, but I’m shook”
Using “I’m shook” to mean you are speechless, confused or flabbergasted
This instance happens when something seemingly mundane takes a turn for the strange, weird or awkward.
You could be watching a video of Wildest Australian animals only to see a crocodile being wrestled and suffocated by a snake.
Your response to this sight would be “I’m shook”
It can also be used when a situation turns out as you expected yet you are still surprised
Person A: John needs to get out of Jack’s face. If he keeps it up, he’s not going to like Jack’s response
Jack proceeds to punch John, knocking him out
Person A: I’m shook.
Using “I’m shook” sarcastically
This instance is a lot more popular, especially on social media where the aim is to always look unbothered about anything. For instance, if you have an argument with someone on social media and they begin making claims to get back at you, you could say “I’m shook” to show that you are unbothered.
Person A: Keep it up, I’m gonna come find you and beat you up
Person B: ooooh, I’m shook (eye roll emoji).
Alternatives to saying “I’m shook”
When you are worried about something, rather than using “I’m shook” you could say “I’m bummed out”. This is usually used when you have just received some bad news or generally feel distraught about something. For instance:
“I hear the company’s going bankrupt. I’m bummed out”
“Apparently, he didn’t get what I ordered. I’m so bummed out”
This can be used to signify your confusion about a particular thing. For instance if something has left you perplexed, rather than using “I’m shook” you could say “I’m rattled”. Example:
“I almost hit the car in front of me. I’m rattled to say the least”
“He was rattled when his home got burgled”
You can also use “mucked up” to show your puzzlement at a situation. For instance;
“that car came out of nowhere. I’m certainly mucked up”
“I’ve tried everything but this just isn’t making sense to me. Definitely mucked up”