Word Confusion: Chute versus Shoot

Posted June 19, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 17 February 2018

The following sentence is a great example of Microsoft Word—to be fair, any wordprocessing or editing software—missing the context when it runs a spellcheck.

The horse was eating juicy chutes.

Now, it’s always possible that the horse is meandering through a chute recently built with really fresh wood that’s still oozing sap, but, somehow, I don’t think so.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Chute Shoot
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com; Merriam-Webster; Thanks to Lorinda J. Taylor for calling this one to my attention!

“Mosul Dam Chute Spillway” is courtesy of the United States Army Corps of Engineers, which is in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

“The Economy’s Green Shoots, Real or Imagined” is courtesy of the New York Times’ Room for Debate blog.

I have seen green shoots chute down the drain in my sink, just last week in fact.

Part of Grammar:
Verb 3, intransitive & transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: chutes
Past tense or past participle: chuted
Gerund or present participle: chuting

Alternative spellings: shoot or shute

Exclamation; Noun;
Verb, intransitive & transitive

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: shoots
Past tense or past participle: shot
Gerund or present participle: shooting

Alternative spelling for chute
Variant spelling of chute 1

A fall

Quick descent as in a river

Inclined plane, sloping channel, passage, or slide for conveying things to a lower level 1

Narrow enclosed path down which cattle, horses, sheep are driven

Parachute 2

[Sailing, informal] Spinnaker 2

Verb, intransitive:
Convey by a chute

Verb, transitive:
To go in OR as if in a chute

Utilize a chute as by passing ore down it

[Informal] As a euphemism for shit

Young branch or sucker springing from the main stock of a tree or other plant

Occasion when a group of people hunt and shoot game for sport

[British] Land used for shooting game

Occasion when a professional photographer takes photographs or when a film or video is being made

Rapid in a stream

Verb, intransitive:
Fire a bullet from a gun or discharge an arrow from a bow

Cause a gun to fire

Hunt game with a gun

[Shoot over] Shoot game over an estate or other area of countryside

Move suddenly and rapidly in a particular direction

Used to invite a comment or question

[Of a pain; may also be figurative] Move with a sharp stabbing sensation

[Soccer, hockey, basketball, etc.] Kick, hit, or throw the ball or puck in an attempt to score a goal 4

Film or photograph a scene, film, etc.

[Of a plant or seed] Send out buds or shoots


[Of a bud or shoot] Appear


Verb, transitive:
Kill or wound a person or animal with a bullet or arrow

Damage or remove something with a bullet or missile

Cause to move suddenly and rapidly in a particular direction

Direct a glance, question, or remark at someone

[Of a boat] Sweep swiftly down or under rapids, a waterfall, or a bridge

[Informal, of a motor vehicle] Pass a traffic light at red

Extend sharply in a particular direction

Move a door bolt to fasten or unfasten a door

[Informal] Make a specified score for a round of golf

[Informal] Play a game of pool or dice

Film or photograph a scene, film, etc.

[Informal] Inject oneself or another person with a narcotic drug

Plane the edge of a board accurately

Rig up the debris chute.

Did you see that movie where they escaped through the chute?

Icy water came rushing down the chute.

Dump it down the laundry chute.

Send it down the chute.

Verb, intransitive:
Chute them doggies in.

Verb, transitive:
We’ll chute them in.

The dock had facilities for chuting grain directly into the hold of a vessel.

Supplies were chuted to the snowbound mountain climbers.

Shoot, it was a great day to be alive.

Well, shoot, I guess we’ll have to put him down.

Better cut those shoots down lest it weaken the tree.

They have a grouse shoot scheduled for tomorrow.

I’ve scheduled a photo shoot for my artwork.

I hear they’re shooting a movie the next street over.

Follow the portages that skirt all nine shoots of whitewater.

Verb, intransitive:
He shot at me twice.

The troops were ordered to shoot to kill.

We go to Scotland to shoot every autumn.

The car shot forward.

Ward’s hand shot out, grabbing his arm.

“May I just ask you one more question?” “Shoot.”

Claudia felt a shaft of pain shoot through her chest.

A pang of regret shot through her.

He shot the bolt.

Williams twice shot wide.

Point the camera and just shoot…nothing could be easier.

Verb, transitive:
He was shot in the leg during an armed robbery.

Troops shot dead 29 people.

They shot a volley of arrows into the village.

Guy, shoot their hats off.

He would have fallen if Marc hadn’t shot out a hand to stop him.

Beauchamp shot United into the lead.

Luke shot her a quick glance.

“I can’t believe what I’m hearing,” she shot back.

A road that seemed to just shoot upward at a terrifying angle.

In the second round he shot a 65.

4 After school, we’d go straight out in the alley to shoot baskets.

She has just been commissioned to shoot a video.

He’s just gonna shoot dope into his arm.

Noun: chutist, chute-the-chute, chute-the-chutes
Verb: chute the chute, chute the chutes
Adjective: shootable
Noun: shooter
Phrasal Verb
shoot someone down
shoot something down
shoot through
shoot up
shoot someone up
shoot something up
History of the Word:
1 1805 from the French for fall of water or rocks which is from the Old French cheoite, a feminine past participle of cheoir for to fall which is from the Latin cadere

Influenced by shoot

2 1920s as a shortened form

3 1884

Old English scēotan is of Germanic origin and related to the Dutch scieten and the German schiessen

Related to sheet in its primary sense of to shoot or project

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves? Also, please note that I try to be as accurate as I can, but mistakes happen or I miss something. Email me if you find errors, so I can fix them…and we’ll all benefit!

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Pinterest Photo Credits:

This Pilot is the Only Person to Take Down an Enemy Plane With a 1911 Pistol, via Controversial Times.

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