What Does To Get Shafted Mean?

To Get Shafted Meaning

Definition: For someone to be treated unfairly or badly by another person.

In most cases, this phrase refers to someone experiencing unfair treatment rather than someone treating someone unfairly. It is possible to say both, however.

  • I got shafted on the trade in of my car.
  • You really gave him the shaft. Why were you that mean?

Both cases are acceptable, but it is more common to use this phrase when talking about the victim rather than the aggressor.

Another version of the expression is to get the shaft.

Origin of To Get Shafted

This expression comes from the literal meaning of the verb shaft, which is to push something or someone with a pole. Therefore, if a person is shafted it means someone is thrusting a pole at them, which could easily harm them.

The expression get shafted uses this metaphorically.

Examples of To Get Shafted

Definition of shaftedIn this dialogue, two employees are discussing the new employee.

Deanna: Hey, Emily. Did you hear that the company just hired a new employee in my department?

Emily: Really? That’s great. I hope the new person is someone you like.

Deanna: She seems okay, but she has less experience than me, and I know my boss is paying her more than me!

Emily: Oh, I’m sorry to hear that. Maybe she has some specialized education to justify the higher pay.

Deanna: She doesn’t. She has the same degree as I do, and we even went to the same university. It seems totally unfair!

Emily: That’s true. It sounds like you got shafted. What are you going to do about it?

Deanna: I guess I’m going to ask for a raise.

Emily: Good for you!

define shaftedIn the second example, two baseball players are discussing the referee officiating at their game.

Billy: That referee is definitely biased. He’s favoring the other team!

Angie: Yeah, I think you might be right, but I didn’t see the last play. What happened?

Billy: Our player was trying to steal a base, but then the pitcher saw him. Our guy ran back to his base before the pitcher even threw the ball. The referee said he was out anyway!

Angie: That’s not fair at all! We’re getting shafted.

Billy: I’m going to go complain about the way he’s treating us!

More Examples

This excerpt comes from an interview with a candidate for the San Clemente city council. He believes that certain businesses harm the residents of the city.

Q: If elected what will be the top three priorities on your to do list?

A: The battle for San Clemente to have a hospital and emergency room is #1; the health and safety of our residents. We implemented a second ambulance. Three other hospital operators are interested in a new approach for the current site. Regulating Sober Living Homes and VRBO’s is #2. These businesses can be toxic in a neighborhood. Residents get shafted from some business owner fattening their bank account. #3 Ensure our city remains financially sound. –OC Register

This excerpt is how people with Medicare can receive unfair treatment.

  • Medicare is complex not only because it’s a 50-year-old government program with layers of rules and regulations, but also because it’s dealing with the health care industry, which itself is constantly changing, Moeller told CBS MoneyWatch. The downside: It’s easy to get “shafted,” as his book points out. Even signing up for the program can be easily mishandled or misunderstood, leading to costly mistakes or gaps in coverage. –CBS News


The phrase to get shafted or to get the shaft means to receive unjust treatment from someone else.